HOUSTON - Houston's police chief today announced that his department helped track down the Tom Brady jersey stolen during Super Bowl 51.
HPD Chief Art Acevedo also called on the NFL to step up its locker room security.
Chief Acevedo repeated several times that finding Tom Brady's jersey wasn't his department's top priority, especially since, he said, security in the locker room where it was stolen didn't seem to be a priority for the NFL.
"They really need to check their protocols and their efforts, because this is at least two jerseys that we know of, and it required a response from the Houston Police Department and other partners to recover them," Acevedo said.
The jersey was said to have an estimated value of $500,000. Following the disappearance of Brady Super Bowl LI jersey, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked the Texas Rangers to help the Houston Police Department with the investigation. The response stretched from NRG Stadium all the way to Mexico.
That's where Chief Art Acevedo says not one, but two of Tom Brady's Super Bowl jerseys were recovered.
"The reason the jersey has been recovered is because of the men and women of the Houston Police Department and their outstanding work," Acevedo said.
The NFL released the following statement:
Through the cooperation of the NFL and New England Patriots' security teams, the FBI and other law enforcement authorities, the Super Bowl LI jersey worn last month by MVP Tom Brady has been recovered. Also retrieved during the ongoing investigation was the jersey Brady wore in the Patriots' victory in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks in 2015.
The items were found in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media. Due to the ongoing investigation, we would refer any additional questions to the FBI.
Those jerseys have to be authenticated by the NFL and FBI before any charges are filed.
According to the Associated Press, the Mexican Editorial Organization, a Mexican newspaper company, said on Twitter a short time later that a former executive from tabloid Diario La Prensa was involved in the case.
On Monday night, KHOU 11 got another account from someone who says the man was not acting like a normal member of the media during the week leading up to Super Bowl LI.
"I saw him on radio row: I was working there on the table. He approached us with a couple of Mexican guys who were with me," said Arturo Carlos, the founder of Maximo Avance, a site in Mexico that covers both college and pro football.
He encountered the man who authorities believe stole Tom Brady's jersey on radio row.
"For me it was curious to see him on the radio row area and NFL Experience," Carlos said, adding that he had seen the man in the past at prior Super Bowls and knew he was a member of the Mexican press. "This guy with the items was looking for the players to ask for their signatures."
Carlos says he showed up to radio row with Kurt Warner and Emmitt Smith's signatures. Carlos also told KHOU 11 News the man was always dressed professionally but felt it was curious he was walking around with all the memorabilia he had, adding that he didn't seem to be interested in interviews.
"He was doing something more than working covering the Super Bowl," Carlos said.
Though HPD hasn't named the suspect, Acevedo says he hopes this investigation sends a message.
"You don't come to Texas and embarrass us on our home turf, right, guys?" Acevedo said.
Acevedo mentioned one possible charge: "interstate transportation of stolen property." But the U.S. Attorney's Office says it can't say for sure what charge the suspect will face until those jerseys are authenticated.
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