BOSTON (CBS) – When Tom Brady unveiled his recovered Super Bowl jersey during opening day ceremonies at Fenway Park Monday, no one was happier than 19-year-old Dylan Wagner.
He is a sports memorabilia collector and avid Patriots fan who helped federal investigators recover both of Brady’s missing jerseys.
Wagner says it all started shortly after this year’s Super Bowl, when news surfaced that Brady’s jersey from the Super Bowl victory against Seattle in 2015 had also been swiped.
“I knew exactly who had it,” Wagner said.
Wagner told the I-Team that he not only knew who had the Super Bowl 49 jersey; he also told the FBI where they could find it.
“I was able to provide two addresses to search,” he said.
Last December, after selling Martin Mauricio Ortega a jersey on eBay, the two exchanged photos of their collections.
“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.
At that time, there were no reports that the Super Bowl 49 jersey was stolen property. So Dylan shared Ortega’s photos with his friend, Boston ATF Special Agent Christopher Arone, who is also a collector.
It wasn’t until Brady talked about his missing game jersey after this year’s Super Bowl that Arone got back in touch with Dylan.
“He sent me a link to an ESPN article. It stated it is not the first time a jersey was stolen from Brady and it happened after the Seahawks Super Bowl,” Wagner recalled. “I couldn’t believe this guy would have the audacity to go in and steal something that someone worked so hard for.”
Wagner says he sent the photos of Ortega’s collection and his contact information to the Boston ATF agent, who turned it over to the FBI.
Ortega, a member of the international media, was seen on video leaving the locker room after the Super Bowl with something tucked under his arm.
“He [Arone] 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 said recalling a conversation with the ATF agent.
The FBI, along with police in Mexico were able to recover both jerseys and return them to the Patriots.
“It’s incredible. I wasn’t sure they’d even get one, but to get both of them back. It’s history, it really is,” Wagner said.
That is how a diehard Patriots fan, living in Seattle, got to play a major role in helping the FBI crack the case of Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl jerseys.
“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,” Wagner said.
The ATF agent was not able to comment on this story. The FBI told WBZ-TV the agency does not comment on ongoing investigations.