A former executive of a tabloid newspaper in Mexico City allegedly swiped two of Tom Brady's game-worn New England Patriots Super Bowl jerseys and potentially the helmet worn by Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller during Super Bowl 50.
Mauricio Ortega was the director of La Prensa before he offered his resignation last week.
"I am happy my jersey from SB 49 and SB 51 have been recovered, and I want to thank all of the law enforcement agencies involved," Brady said in a statement released via his agent, Don Yee. "I know they worked hard on this case — and it is very much appreciated. Hopefully when I get the jerseys back I can make something very positive come from this experience."
La Prensa later released a seven-point statement Monday afternoon, which was translated by USA TODAY Sports, indicating it was just learning of the allegations against Ortega:
On March 14, 2017, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Mr. Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos arrived at the corporate offices to present his resignation as the Director of the Newspaper LA PRENSA, citing personal reasons.
That resignation was accepted, since on multiple occasions, Mr. Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos expressed he was undergoing difficulties, related to the health of family members close to him.
With complete surprise and disappointment, today we have received the news of the alleged behavior by Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos on February 5, 2017, inside NRG Stadium in Houston Texas, where Super Bowl LI took place.
Editora La Prensa S.A. de C.V., if these allegations are true, strongly rejects the behavior of Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos, who took advantage of the position he held, used the newspaper La Prensa to obtain media credentials to access the field of play, press conferences and probably other areas of NRG Stadium.
It is worth noting that none of the managers of Editora La Prensa, S.A. de C.V., nor of the Organizacion Editorial Mexicana, had any knowledge of the unfortunate and reproachable acts that Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos allegedly committed on February 5, 2017, since no local or federal authorities sought information from the legal department of this publishing house in relation to Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos, much less over his role during Super Bowl LI that took place in Houston; for that reason, this is why we became aware of the alleged actions by Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos at this moment.
Editora La Prensa, S.A. de C.V. will seek information from the corresponding authorities in relation to the acts that were revealed today, so that if it is appropriate, we can initiate a legal response to help the authorities in the clarification of these regrettable actions that are being investigated, which will become public knowledge to the Mexican people, and in particular our readers.
Regardless of the truth, these alleged acts committed personally by Martin Mauricio Ortega Camberos could have happened while he still held the position of director of the newspaper La Prensa; Editora La Prensa, S.A. de C.V. offers a public apology to our readers and the Mexican people for these regrettable acts.
USA TODAY Sports reached out to the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of Texas and inquired about Ortega's status as a potential suspect in the case, which began when Brady's jersey — valued up to $500,000 by some collectors — went missing after Super Bowl LI.
"The matter is currently still under investigation, therefore, I cannot confirm the person you listed below as being involved," executive assistant U.S. attorney Jennifer Lowery said in an email.
Lowery said any charges brought in the case are pending authentication of the jerseys.
Earlier Monday, Houston police chief Art Acevedo told reporters that investigators are confident the jerseys, recovered with the aid of the FBI and NFL security, are indeed the ones that went missing.
Authorities didn't immediately state that the helmet potentially belonging to Miller was part of the same investigation, although FOXSports reported the item was found at the same time as the jerseys.
The Broncos released the following statement: "We have been in contact with NFL security regarding a Denver Broncos helmet that could potentially belong to Von Miller. As it is an ongoing investigation, we will defer all additional questions and inquiries to the NFL."