On the surface, the search for Tom Brady’s Super Bowl created the impression of a multi-agency effort that included equal parts gumshoe and CSI. In reality, it wasn’t nearly that complicated.
As explained by Cheryl Fiandaca of WBZ-TV, the case turned on a tip from a 19-year-old Patriots fan who lives in Seattle and who, more importantly, collects sports memorabilia.
In December, Dylan Wagner sold a jersey to Martin Mauricio Ortega via eBay. They later shared photos of their collections. Ortega’s had Brady’s Super Bowl XLIX jersey, complete with grass stains.
Wagner asked Ortega how he got the item. Ortega said, “I’ll tell you later.”
Opting not to wait for the explanation, Wagner alerted a friend who also is an ATF special agent. Nothing happened.
After Brady’s Super Bowl LI jersey came up missing, Wagner knew that Ortega was the thief. At that point, Wagner heard from the ATF agent, who then gave the information to the FBI.
As Wagner tells it, the video of Ortega in the Patriots’ locker room was inconclusive as to whether Ortega actually stole the item, and that without photo and other facts the teenager gave to the feds, a search warrant for Ortega’s basement wouldn’t have been obtained.
Then again, Wagner is only 19. What does he know?