Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo admits that Tom Brady's missing Super Bowl jersey isn't the most pressing crime problem in the Bayou City. But the theft at NRG Stadium last month made Houston look bad in the eyes of the world (even though the chief pointed out, locker room security was handled by the NFL), so his team was out to solve the crime.
Looks like they have.
"Unfortunately, for the people that did this, you don't come to Texas and embarrass us here on our home turf," Acevedo said at a press conference Monday as he was surrounded by officers in the Major Offenders Division, which was the lead agency on the investigation.
Acevedo said the jersey in now is the hands of the NFL and the FBI in Boston, but "the reason the jersey was recovered was because of the men and women of the Houston Police Department and their outstanding work."
Working on a tip from an informant, HPD officers learned the jersey was in Mexico, and cooperated with the FBI and Mexican authorities to retrieve it, along with a Brady jersey from Super Bowl XLIX two years ago in Arizona that had previously gone missing but seems to have gone unreported. Authorities are currently authenticating the jerseys, but Acevedo said he is "highly confident" the jerseys are the ones that were stolen.
As much of the world knows, Brady's jersey went missing soon after the New England Patriots' thrilling overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl LI. Brady, the MVP of the greatest comeback victory in Super Bowl history, said he left the jersey in a bag in his locker and changed into a champions T-shirt for the post-game ceremony. When he returned, the jersey was missing.
In addition to working with the FBI and Mexican authorities, HPD officials consulted with the NFL, the New England Patriots, and the Texas Rangers, to crack the case.
The investigation is ongoing, so few other details were released, although Acevedo said the alleged thief had "legitimate access to the event and it wasn't as a ticket holder" (Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reports that the suspect posed as a credentialed international media member). The U.S. Attorney's Office is expected to bring charges, which could include transporting stolen goods across state lines and out of the country.
As to how much the jersey is worth, Acevedo noted, "The face value in terms of buying a jersey isn't that expensive, (but) because of the nature of how it was worn, who it was worn by, and the circumstances it was worn, to a collector it's kind of like a piece of art. It can have a great value in terms of monetary gain for the suspect."