MILPITAS (CBS SF) — A San Jose man has been arrested in the theft of an autographed football signed by San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer Jerry Rice at a local a fundraiser — a brazen crime captured on surveillance video, according to Milpitas Police.
Authorities said 45-year-old Patrick Van Lam had been taken into custody.
Patrick Van Lam/Milpita Police photo.
Milpitas police said they were still looking for on other suspect and three persons of interest in the case.
Hayward-based Prince of Peace Enterprises, distributor of the muscle analgesic Tiger Balm endorsed by Rice, held the fundraiser at a restaurant in Milpitas with the NFL star as a celebrity guest.
The fundraiser was benefiting special-needs children at an orphanage in China.
At the end of the evening, a souvenir football autographed by Rice was swiped by a man in plain view of others at the Koi Palace Seafood Restaurant. A surveillance camera appeared to catch the man in the act.
Organizers of the event filed a police report and asked for the public’s help in finding the person seen on camera. He is Asian and appears to be in his 20s with shoulder length hair in a ponytail. He was wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and black sneakers.
The organizers said the winning bid for the football was $3,500. Under California law, a stolen item with a value over $950 would be considered grand theft.
Anyone with any information regarding the investigation, suspects, or persons of interest is encouraged to call the Milpitas Police Department at (408) 586-2400. Additionally, information can be given anonymously by calling the Crime Tip Hotline at (408) 586-2500 or via the Milpitas Police Department website at: http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/crimetip