By Ulises Harada
special to the Talk of Fame Network
MEXICO CITY -- Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl LI jersey was found in Mexico City, and the alleged thief is Mauricio Ortega, a director of a popular tabloid in Mexico, La Prensa.
Never heard of him? You will now. Ortega is also the suspect in the theft of Brady’s Super Bowl XLIX jersey, as well as several pieces of Denver Broncos' equipment from Super Bowl 50.
One of the biggest -- and strangest -- stories after Super Bowl LI was the missing Brady jersey, valued at approximately $500,000, and its theft prompted an investigation by the NFL and the FBI -- with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick last month asking the Texas Rangers to assist the Houston Police Department in the hunt.
Houston was the site of Super Bowl LI.
After six weeks and reviews of many videos, they found a person of interest, and that person is Mauricio Ortega:
Police two weeks ago searched Ortega’s suburban Mexico City house and found a room full of NFL memorabilia that included Brady’s jersey ... and more, including Von Miller's helmet from Super Bowl 50. According to multiple media outlets, Ortega was a credentialed member of the international media, having covered the Super Bowl for at least 13 years, and seldom missed an opportunity to seek autographs or take selfies in the Super Bowl Locker room, as TMZ reports.
La Prensa released a statement that said Ortega quit last Tuesday (March 14) due to personal reasons, allegedly to attend a family emergency. According to that release, the paper found out about the alleged illegal activities through social media this Monday.
"I am happy my jerseys from SB 49 and SB 51 have been recovered," Brady said in a statement through his agent, Don Yee, "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."
So what happens next? At this moment, it is uncertain if Ortega has been arrested or must respond to U.S. authorities, but this story will not go away so easily. The Patriots, remember, play the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City this season, and questions about security are certain to be posed.