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Ex-Augusta National employee admits to stealing more than $5 million worth of Masters merchandise, including Arnold Palmer’s green jacket

CHICAGO (CBS) — A former employee of Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Chicago to charges of stealing millions of dollars in memorabilia, including green jackets awarded to golf legends Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.

Richard Brendan Globensky, 39, pleaded guilty to transporting goods across state lines and faces up to 10 years in prison. Under his plea deal, he faces a prison sentence of 2 to 2.5 years. Prosecutors say he is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

Globensky, who worked as a warehouse worker at Augusta National Golf Club, was first charged on April 16, two days after Scottie Scheffler won the 88th annual Masters tournament in Augusta. He was charged in federal court in Chicago because some of the stolen property was recovered in the Chicago area.

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Golf legends’ green jackets stolen

Globensky admitted to stealing more than $5 million worth of Masters merchandise and memorabilia between 2009 and 2022. Under the plea agreement, he would load the stolen goods into a truck and take them to a storage facility. He would then work with a real estate agent in Florida to sell the items at online auctions.

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The stolen property included green jackets awarded to golfers Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen. Palmer won four Masters tournaments in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964. Hogan won two Masters titles in 1951 and 1953. Sarazan won the Masters in 1935, before Augusta began handing out green jackets to the winners in 1937, but was given his green jacket in 1949 when Augusta began awarding them to all past winners.

Hogan has the fourth-most PGA Tour wins with 64, Palmer is fifth with 62 and Sarazen is 12th with 38.

Masters Memorabilia Theft Golf
From left to right, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player stand together after the ceremonial first tee for the first round of the Masters golf tournament on Thursday, April 7, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia.

Charlie Riedel/AP

Green jackets remain the property of Augusta National, and Masters winners may remove their jackets from Augusta National grounds for only one year after winning the tournament as a “victory lap”, but must return them to the club afterwards. From then on, they can only wear it on the club grounds during future tournaments. Otherwise, green jackets are stored in the club’s Champions Locker Room.

Other memorabilia and merchandise Globensky stole included 1934 and 1935 Masters programs; an Augusta National clubhouse trophy; Masters tickets from 1934 to 1939; documents and letters signed by golf legend and Augusta National founder Bobby Jones; and Masters shirts, hats, flags, watches and other goods.

Under his plea deal, Globensky will deliver a $1.57 million check to the federal government within seven days to cover a portion of the restitution owed to Augusta National. His total restitution to Augusta National is almost $3.5 million. He must also forfeit the $5.3 million in proceeds he made from the sale of the stolen memorabilia.

His sentencing is set for October 29.

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