Thanks to Texas cops, Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey is safe and sound in Boston after being swiped from a stadium locker room in Houston, authorities said.
The hunt for the NFL quarterback’s missing shirt led authorities to Mexico, where gossip was circulating that a former newspaper director there had pilfered the piece of sports history.
The jersey had been stolen from a locker room at Houston’s NRG Stadium after the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons in a 34-28 overtime victory in Super Bowl LI last month.
On Monday, the league said in a statement that federal and local law enforcement officials had found the jersey “in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media.”
Authorities did not identify a suspect or announce any arrests, but Mexican media company Organizacion Editorial Mexicana said Mauricio Ortega, the director of La Prensa in Mexico City, had resigned March 14 for “personal reasons,” and that it learned only Monday of his possible involvement in the case.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo — Austin’s former top cop — congratulated his team on finding the jersey, which his department had estimated to be worth $500,000. Police investigators traced the jersey to Mexico based on an informant’s tip.
The NFL also reported that a second Brady Super Bowl jersey was recovered, the one he wore in his victory against the Seattle Seahawks in 2015.
Brady, who was named most valuable player in this year’s game, thanked investigators in a statement sent to The Associated Press.
“I am happy my jerseys from SB 49 and SB 51 have been recovered, and I want to thank all of the law enforcement agencies involved,” Brady said. “I know they worked hard on this case — and it is very much appreciated. Hopefully when I get the jerseys back I can make something very positive come from this experience.”
The jerseys are in the possession of the NFL and the FBI in Boston, and law enforcement was working to authenticate them, the chief said.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who had invited the Department of Public Safety’s Texas Rangers to join the posse looking for the jersey, posted a statement Monday on Facebook.
“I knew once the Houston Police Department and the Texas Rangers were on the hunt the jersey would be found,” Patrick wrote. “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.”
Patrick warned: “Note to the international media: Don’t Mess with Texas.”