Morning Wood: Stolen jersey returned to star UMass quarterback

By Morning Wood Staff

(Caroline OConnor/Daily Collegian)

By Will Toliv

University of Massachusetts quarterback Russ Collins’ stolen jersey from this year’s season finale at Hawaii was finally recovered on Friday, following an investigation by Residential Security’s International Crimes Unit.

In recently-acquired locker room camera footage, an international media member is seen pushing straight through UMass’ line to take the jersey from the quarterback with ease. The journalist, Gordie Clark from Canada, disappeared into the Hawaiian streets quickly afterward, managing to escape with the jersey valued at $26.40 on Ebay.

“How could anyone expect me not to take a UMass jersey?” Clark cried out as he was removed from his Manitoba home in handcuffs. “They’re the non-conference powerhouse of NCAA football!”

Clark, who was in Hawaii reporting on the game for the Canadian Sports Network, has since been fired by the company. In a press release on Saturday, the media giant cited his lack of judgment and “inability to steal something that’s actually cool” as the reasoning for Clark’s dismissal.

“If he was going to steal something, why couldn’t he steal something awesome like a Tom Brady jersey or something?” said Jeff Hooley, vice president of operations for CSN. “That one Mexican journalist did that and that thing was worth like a billion Canadian dollars!”

Becca Hawkins, the director of Residential Security’s International Crime Unit, said her team was able to find the jersey by scouring Canadian Craigslist. “Countless hours were dedicated to returning the jersey back to UMass,” she said. “We might’ve lost that game, and nine other ones I guess, but we weren’t about to lose that jersey.”

The special investigative unit watched over thousands of hours of security footage before finding evidence to spark the deployment of their retrieval team. The team apprehended Mr. Clark at his home and found the jersey inside sitting at the bottom of his hamper, conveniently the first place investigators chose to look.

On Sunday, Collins posted a statement on Facebook thanking the law enforcement officers for their hard work. “I honestly forgot that I lost the jersey a few months ago, but it’s pretty cool Residential Security went all the way up to Canada to get it back for me,” he wrote.

Clark now awaits a court date in Hawaii for two charges of petty theft and fleeing the scene of a crime. Upon hearing that his trial would be held in Honolulu, Clark’s dismay seemed to lessen from his cell at Residential Security’s detention center.

“Sure I got caught and lost the jersey, but a trip to Hawaii is a trip to Hawaii,” he shared in an exclusive interview. “I was afraid the punishment would be to cover more UMass football games.”

Will Toliv can be reached in a hot air balloon.