Super Bowl 51 was possibly the greatest game in the history of the sport. Not only did the Patriots make the largest comeback ever, but 18 other Super Bowl records got broken that day. Tom Brady was called the GOAT (“Greatest Of All Time”), and Bill Belichick was named as greatest coach ever.
No matter where you stand, you cannot ignore their greatness.
The following day, something else captured the spotlight, however. A sports memorabilia collector and media member, Martin Mauricio Ortega, had stolen Tom Brady’s Super Bowl 51 jersey after the game. At the time, no one had identified the Jersey-bandit. The investigation was fast underway. Not only was the local Houston PD investigating but the Texas Rangers and FBI both got involved. With little to go on and no eyewitnesses, it was certainly going to be a challenge finding the culprit — not to mention, the jersey.
Luckily, a 19-year old sports memorabilia collector, and die-hard Patriots fan, Dylan Wagner, helped crack the case. Dylan and Mr. Ortega had previously met through eBay, where Dylan had sold him some memorabilia. After sharing pictures of their collections with one another, Dylan noticed one with Tom Brady’s other stolen Jersey, from Super Bowl 49.
It may be an understatement to say Mr. Ortega is not the smartest person on the planet for having flagrantly sent a photo of such a notorious piece of stolen merchandise. But thank goodness he was stupid or else he might not have gotten caught. Dylan quickly reported what he saw to an ATF agent, and the rest is history. (You can see more of this story at the below link.)
I’m cheering the fact Dylan reported this and that Tom Brady received what is rightfully his. Sports memorabilia collectors sometimes get a bad wrap because of unscrupulous characters like Mr. Ortega. For most of us, we collect because we love it and want to own a piece of history. But stealing undermines the good nature of our hobby and is just plain wrong. I hope more people like Dylan will help clean up the kind of unethical behavior and fraud that’s stained our industry.