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 milpitas police photo Alleged Jerry Rice Autographed Football Thief Arrested
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.

jerry rice football suspcted thief Alleged Jerry Rice Autographed Football Thief Arrested

Surveillance images of a man who walked off with a Jerry Rice autographed football. (Prince of Peace Enterprises Inc.)

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.

fundraising banquet in koi palace 2017 Alleged Jerry Rice Autographed Football Thief Arrested

The advertisement of the Jerry Rice fundraiser. (POP’s Foundation)

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.

rice Alleged Jerry Rice Autographed Football Thief Arrested

Jerry Rice poses with the winner of an autographed football auctioned at a fundraiser in Milpitas, April 9, 2017. (Prince of Peace Enterprises Inc.)

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:


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