Look, we know that caretakers/groundskeepers of major soccer clubs don’t make the wages of the famous players that surround them. It’s understandable that they’d want to make a little extra cash on the side, whether by leaking rumors to press officials or peddling used jerseys that are essentially throw-aways when players dump them after practice. Yet, stealing more than 2,000 exclusive training jerseys seems a bit over the line, doesn’t it?
Someone tell that to Juventus (Italy) chief caretaker (equipment manager) Roberto Olivo, who, according to the DAILY MAIL (which also found the photos you see above and after the jump), was caught lifting hundreds and stuffing them into trash bags on a hidden camera set up by team staff. After his arrest, Olivo was found with 700 of the team’s 2009 training jerseys in his van, which he planned to drive to Spain, where he was going to sell those 700 plus another 400 more he’d been storing at his apartment. That’s right, not only was Olivo stealing bagfuls of jerseys from his employer, he’d figured out exactly which country would pay the most for the goods because of extensive experience peddling player-worn shirts in the past.
Further investigation revealed that Olivo stole more than 2,000 jerseys before his most recent arrest, which — at least conceptually — brings his total up to around 3,100. Considering the fact that the limited edition jerseys were bringing in more than $250 apiece on the black market, Olivo stood to gain $775,000, almost surely more than his entire salary for multiple years.
There’s no word on what chargers Olivo will face, and how long he’s likely to be locked up for, but one thing is certain: That theft just stuck it to Steiner Sports. Who needs an entire memorabilia company that sells autographed jock straps when one guy can clear three-quarters of a million dollars on unsigned soccer jerseys.
Clearly, American thieves and memorabilia peddlers — there’s a fine line there, admit it — just aren’t targeting the right goods. And maybe more of us should be soccer thieves. After all, if Olivo was getting $250 for a stolen jersey in the middle of the current economic climate, theft really must be recession proof.