On Monday, the Watertown Police Department recovered a lost football signed by Tom Brady in his first season with the New England Patriots, along with former quarterback Drew Bledsoe and backup Damon Huard.
The autographed football was a gift from the Kraft family to the Cannistraro company of Watertown for the plumbing and fire protection services it provided while building Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the Boston Globe reported.
“That ball, to Cannistraro, represents leadership, mentorship and succession … collaboration … success that we strive for every day at our company,” John Cannistraro, the company president, said in an interview with the Globe.
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However, in December, when the Cannistraro company moved from Watertown to Woburn, the autographed football went missing, the Globe reported. Cannistraro believed the football would show up on eBay and his theory was proven right when he found the item on the website.
“Lo and behold, it was front and center with our name blazing across the ball,” Cannistraro told the Globe.
The Cannistraro company contacted the Watertown Police Department. Watertown officers worked with Woburn police detectives to go undercover to recover the football, the Globe reported.
At one point, detectives from each department, along with a friend the company recruited to also bid for the ball, were bidding against one another, the Globe said.
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Over the weekend the football was removed from eBay, but on Monday, police contacted Cannistraro to tell him, “We got the ball,” the Globe reported.
On Jan. 18, police detectives from Watertown and Woburn went undercover to purchase the football from the seller at a location in Woburn, the Watertown police said in a statement.
The football, along with a thank you letter from the Kraft family, was returned in its original Wilson cardboard box, Cannistraro told the Globe.
“Many of the people that worked as apprentices on [the Gillette Stadium] project are now leaders in our firm,” Cannistraro told the Globe. “It’s a great symbol for us.”