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Ex-Augusta National worker admits to stealing more than $5 million in Masters merchandise, including Arnold Palmer's green jacket

Former Augusta National worker pleads guilty to stealing $5 million in Masters merch
Former Augusta National worker pleads guilty to stealing $5 million in Masters merch 00:44

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A former employee at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Chicago to charges accusing him 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 one count of transporting goods across state lines, and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Under his plea deal, he faces a sentencing range of 2 to 2 ½ years. Prosecutors said he is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

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

Golf legends' green jackets stolen

Globensky admitted stealing more than $5 million worth of Masters merchandise and memorabilia between 2009 and 2022. According to the plea deal, he would load the stolen goods onto a truck and take it to a storage facility. He would then work with a broker in Florida to sell the items in online auctions.

The stolen goods 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 awarding winners green jackets in 1937, but got 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 ranks fifth with 62, and Sarazen ranks 12th with 38.

Masters Memorabilia Thefts Golf
From left, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player stand together after the ceremonial first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. Charlie Riedel / AP

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

Other memorabilia and merchandise Globensky stole included Masters programs from 1934 and 1935; an Augusta National clubhouse trophy; Masters tickets from 1934 through 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 hand over a check for $1.57 million to the federal government within seven days to cover part of the restitution due to Augusta National. His total restitution owed to Augusta National is nearly $3.5 million. He also must forfeit the $5.3 million in proceeds he made from the sale of the stolen memorabilia.

His sentencing has been set for Oct. 29.

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