Who stole Tom Brady's jersey? Police reportedly have a surprising new theory

There's a new twist in the case of Tom Brady's stolen jersey and that twist involves the theory that maybe the jersey wasn't stolen at all.

Wait, WHAT?

Police sources involved with the investigation told TMZ on Wednesday that Brady's jersey could be on the team equipment truck that bolted out of NRG Stadium after the Patriots' victory. Although it's a long-shot theory, law enforcement officials are "hopeful" that the jersey is on the truck.

The Patriots sent an 18-wheel truck to Houston for the Super Bowl, and that truck was set to return to Massachusetts after the game was over. Since the truck was under the control of the Patriots, the truck wasn't thoroughly searched before leaving the stadium, police sources told TMZ.

Basically, the hope is that someone grabbed Brady's jersey, threw it in a laundry basket and then the basket was placed on the truck with a bunch of other team equipment. Once the truck was packed up, the driver would've bolted out of Houston in order to get back to Foxborough as quickly as possible.

Even if someone called the driver and asked about Brady's jersey, it's not like he would stop the truck and search an entire 18-wheeler by himself. Instead, the truck is heading north, where it will be unpacked sometime over the next 24 hours.

Although an equipment staffer grabbing dirty laundry is conceivable, it seems like a long shot here because the jersey wasn't in Brady's locker, it was in his own personal bag, as he explained to WEEI in Boston on Monday morning.

"Someone stole my jersey. I put it in my bag and I went in [the locker room] to take my eye black off and they had opened up to -- I don't know -- the media," Brady said. "I walked back to my bag and it was gone. Same thing happened two years ago. That sucks, but, oh well."

WHAT!?!?! Did he just say his jersey was also stolen after Super Bowl XLIX?

HOLD ON A SECOND, TOM, we can only handle one mystery at a time here! Unfortunately, there was no follow-up question after Brady said that his jersey went missing two years ago, so we'll have to wait until someone gets the chance to ask him about it again, so that we can confirm his Super Bowl XLIX jersey is also missing.

Anyway, let's get back to the Super Bow LI jersey. A Yahoo! reporter put together a timeline of events, which eliminated several suspects, but left hundreds to consider from.

Here's what we know: Brady took the jersey off after the game and gave it to an equipment guy, which you can see below.

After that, Brady went to the locker room and placed it in his personal bag. At that point, there was only about a 12-minute window where someone could've stolen it.

Let's hope that it was on the Patriots' equipment truck because it sounds like Houston police aren't very concerned with finding it, and that's because they have other things to worry about, like solving murders.

If the jersey was stolen, the thief might be able to sell it for upward of $500,000, but that's only if they can find a buyer who won't turn them into police.

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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