BOSTON (WHDH) - Thanks to the help of a Seattle teenager, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been reunited with his stolen Super Bowl jerseys.
When Brady showed off his Super Bowl LI jersey for fans at Fenway Park on Opening Day, no one knew that 19-year-old Dylan Wagner had helped the FBI recover the priceless piece of history.
“I’m a huge Patriots fan,” Wagner, a former New England resident, told 7News.
Wagner collects sports memorabilia as a hobby. He said he spotted Brady’s Super Bowl 49 jersey, which had also been stolen, after swapping pictures of his collection with another collector.
After selling a Deion Branch jersey to Martin Ortega in December, Wagner said he spotted the grass-stained jersey that Brady had worn against the Seahawks in his collection.
“At the time, that was like the holy grail of all jerseys,” Wagner said.
Ortega also had jerseys belonging to Joe Montana, John Elway, Peyton Manning and many others, according to Wagner.
Brady’s Super Bowl XLIX jersey was not reported stolen at the time, but Wagner was skeptical as to how Ortega had acquired it.
“I just asked him outright how he got it,” Wagner said. “I wanted to know whether it was legal or illegally.” Wagner said that Ortega responded by saying that “it was a long story.”
Ortega was later identified by investigators as a former media executive in Mexico. Surveillance video captured Ortega inside the Patriots locker room following their win over Atlanta in February.
When Brady’s jersey from that game went missing, Wagner said he contacted a fellow collector, who is also an ATF agent. They then alerted the FBI about Ortega’s whereabouts. Both jerseys were found in his possession.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft officially returned the jerseys to Brady on Monday.
“Brady’s my hero,” Wagner said. “In a way, I’m his hero now.”
Wagner said he would love to meet Brady and perhaps get a game jersey as a reward for his good deed.
No charges have been filed against Ortega.
(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)