Despite probably having better things to do with their time, the FBI has solved the biggest sports mystery of 2017: what happened to Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey? A month and a half after it was reported that Brady’s jersey had been stolen from under his grasp after the Patriots’ historic comeback win in Super Bowl LI, authorities in the United States and Mexico collaborated to find the missing piece of expensive memorabilia in the possession of a Mexican journalist.
Martin Mauricio Ortega, a former director for the Mexican Editorial Organization’s (OEM) Diario La Prensa, has been named as the alleged culprit behind the great jersey heist of 2017. Ortega resigned last week, citing family health issues, and OEM has said that they had no idea about his involvement before the investigation put him in the spotlight.
Authorities figured out that Ortega was a person of interest in the investigation upon viewing footage obtained from FOX, which showed a man alleged to be the Mexican journalist holding a bag that authorities believe held the jersey.
FOX has aired footage of the alleged Brady jersey stealer leaving the locker room
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 20, 2017
In a twist worthy of a crime movie, the Super Bowl LI jersey was not the only piece of memorabilia recovered by authorities on Monday. The Patriots quarterback’s Super Bowl jersey from two years prior, against the Seahawks, and Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller’s helmet from the 2016 Super Bowl were also found along with the most recent Brady jersey.
Through his agent Don Yee, Brady said in a statement that he is “happy my jerseys from SB 49 and SB 51 have been recovered, and I want to thank all of the law enforcement agencies involved. 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.”
Aside from any emotional attachment that Brady has towards the jersey, there’s also a monetary incentive to retrieve it: the Houston Police department pegged a $500,000 price tag on the game-worn jersey. From Ortega’s side, the money seems like reason enough, but as many (jokingly) pointed out on social media, it could also have something to do with Brady’s long-time support of a certain wall enthusiast President.