After at least five law-enforcement agencies lent their resources to the hunt, Tom Brady is finally getting back his stolen Super Bowl jersey. It was a long way from home.
The NFL announced Monday morning that investigators with the Houston Police Department Major Offenders Division, the FBI and Mexican authorities traced the jersey to a credentialed member of the international press living in Mexico. That person not only had Brady's Super Bowl LI jersey, but also had apparently stolen the jersey Brady wore in the New England Patriots 2015 Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL said.
Police had valued the jersey at around $500,000.
Brady discovered his jersey was missing shortly after returning to the locker room at NRG stadium on February 5. By the following day, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick made recovering the jersey a top priority, saying, “In Texas we place a very high value on hospitality and football." He then called on the Texas Rangers to help Houston police in recovering the expensive piece of memorabilia, even though no police report had been filed. HPD quickly convened a press conference to let the public know the Major Offenders Division was on it — and soon the hunt for the missing jersey became an international search.
Patrick weighed in again Monday morning to celebrate the solved crime.
"I knew once the Houston Police Department and the Texas Rangers were on the hunt the jersey would be found. I always suspected someone in the media grabbed it because no one connected with the team would take it and the media was the only other group who had access to the locker room and would be carrying something to stuff it in. Note to the international media: Don't Mess with Texas."
UPDATE, 12:15 p.m.: At a news conference Monday morning, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said investigators from his department cracked the case. An informant in Houston, the chief said, led police to the location of the jerseys somewhere in Mexico.
Acevedo declined to discuss the exact location of the recovery or details about the person suspected of swiping the memorabilia. He said the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas is preparing to bring charges in the case.
Keen on placing the Brady jersey episode in the appropriate context — as Houston police regularly deal with far more serious crimes, including several murders since the Super Bowl — Acevedo repeatedly said finding the NFL star's jersey was not a high priority for his department.
Still, Acevedo could not resist a joke at the thief's expense.
"“It's like the Texas bravado,” Acevedo said in his best Southern drawl. “He came to the wrong state.”
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