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Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady's missing ─ and apparently stolen ─ game jersey has been found, the NFL said Monday.
The culprit appears to be a journalist in Mexico.
An investigation by Houston police, the FBI, the NFL, Brady's New England Patriots and other law enforcement authorities ended with the quarterback's Super Bowl LI jersey being found "in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.
The suspect has not been identified, and there have been no criminal charges filed.
Brady thanked authorities for their work. "Hopefully when I get the jerseys back, I can make something very positive come from this experience," he said in a statement.
Brady wore the jersey while leading the Patriots to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, the first to go into overtime. The 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Feb. 5 in Houston gave Brady his fifth championship.
Brady discovered the jersey missing immediately after the game, saying he remembered putting it in his bag. "It's unfortunate, because that's a nice piece of memorabilia," he told reporters at the time.
A Houston Police Department report on the theft estimated the jersey's value at $500,000.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo noted Monday that the case was not a high priority, given other more important crimes that happen in the city. But he said his force instigated the investigation because the stolen jersey was the game's "only blemish" on the host city.
"You don't come to Texas and embarrass us on our home turf," he said.
He put a handful of investigators from the department's major offenders division on the case, and pointed out that NFL security had the responsibility of making sure nothing was taken from players.
"I remember telling them, 'Don’t burn the midnight oil. If it was that important, you’d have better security inside the locker room,'" Acevedo said.
They tracked down a suspect in Mexico, where they found the missing jersey along with a second Brady jersey, Acevedo said.
McCarthy said the second jersey was worn in the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks in 2015.
The jerseys are now in Boston, where NFL security and FBI agents are working to authenticate them, Acevedo said. Once that process is complete, criminal charges might be filed by prosecutors in Texas.
"We're happy we recovered it, but we're happy to put this behind us," Acevedo said.