Former Augusta National employee pleads guilty in Chicago to multimillion dollar memorabilia theft

A former employee of Augusta National Golf Club has pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars in memorabilia, including three of the fabled Green Jackets.

Richard Brendan Globensky, 39, left federal court in Chicago on Wednesday shortly after pleading guilty to taking part in a massive theft and fraud scheme that stole memorabilia and collectibles associated with the Masters.

Among the items stolen was a 1958 Green Jacket worn by Arnold Palmer after winning the Masters, as well as Green Jackets won by golfing legends Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.

According to his plea agreement, Globensky worked in a warehouse on the Augusta National grounds and stole the jackets and other historic artifacts, as well as millions of dollars worth of Masters memorabilia sold only at the tournament, including T-shirts, jackets, hats, and mugs.

Former FBI agent Ross Rice says the theft ring appeared to involve multiple people.

"It appears that one of the people involved in this scheme got caught somehow in connection with either selling these items or another unrelated crime, and they decided to cooperate with authorities, and it led them to this plot that had been ongoing since 2009," Rice said.

The branded merchandise was sold online at a significant markup, but the high-end historical memorabilia was sold through private channels.

The case was charged in Chicago because the 1958 Arnold Palmer jacket was being sold to a Northside collector for $4 million, while the FBI watched and waited outside the home.

"The prices that those items would command are quite, quite high. You have a couple problems. One, you can't resell them on a public venue because you're going to be attracting attention to yourself that you have these items that are missing from Augusta National," Rice said.

Globensky is due back in court for sentencing on October 29. Prosecutors say they'll recommend a sentence of two to two-and-a-half years in prison, plus millions of dollars in restitution.