Tom Brady has a 19-year-old fan to thank for the return of his stolen Super Bowl 51 jersey.
Dylan Wagner, a young sports memorabilia collector, said it was his tip that led the FBI to Martin Mauricio Ortega, a former Mexican tabloid director believed to have stolen the jersey from the Patriots locker room back in February.
In an interview with WBZ-TV in Boston, Wagner said that he sold a jersey to Ortega on eBay last year, and that after the deal, the two exchanged photos of their collections.
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Dylan Wagner (pictured) said his tip led the FBI to locate Tom Brady’s stolen jersey
Wagner said Martin Mauricio Ortega sent him this picture of his jersey collection last year. On the left is Brady’s missing Super Bowl 49 jersey. When they raided his collection, the FBI found the Super Bowl 51 jersey as well
‘He sent me 30 photos of his collection. Front and center was Tom Brady’s Super Bowl 49 Jersey. I asked him outright, “How did you get that?” and he says “I’ll tell you later,”‘ Wagner explained.
The theft was not reported at the time, so Wagner didn’t think too much about it.
But he instantly remembered the jersey after the second theft.
When reports surfaced that Brady’s jersey had been stolen after the Patriots’ victory, stories said that his Super Bowl 49 jersey had also been missing.
Brady showed off the returned jersey during the Boston Red Sox season opener on Monday
That’s when Wagner sent his pictures of Ortega’s collection to a fellow collector at the Boston ATF, who forwarded them to the FBI. He also sent the authorities two addresses he had for Ortega, from their transactions on eBay.
The FBI had already zeroed in on Ortega, thanks to surveillance footage that showed him leaving the Patriots locker room after the game with something tucked under his arm.
But Wagner says that it was his photos of the previous stolen jersey that gave investigators enough evidence to raid Ortega’s collection.
Wagner, a sports memorabilia collector, says he sold a jersey to Ortega (pictured) last year
Ortega was seen leaving the Patriots locker room after the Super Bowl with something tucked under his arm
Wagner says the agent at the Boston ATF ‘said the video doesn’t prove anything. Without the photos I sent him they wouldn’t have been able to get a search warrant to go into Ortega’s basement and get the jerseys.’
Wagner, who is a Patriots fan, says he’s glad he could help his quarterback get a piece of history back.
‘I would love to meet Brady one day, hopefully. It would be a dream come true. I’m just really glad he gets his jerseys back,’ he said.