Ex-Augusta National employee pleads guilty to stealing Masters merchandise, memorabilia

Augusta National Golf Club

CHICAGO — A former employee of Augusta National Golf Club pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to stealing more than $5 million worth of Masters merchandise and memorabilia, including one of four-time winner Arnold Palmer’s green jackets.

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Richard Brendan Globensky, 39, of Augusta, Georgia, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago to one count of transporting stolen goods across state lines during a hearing before Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, but prosecutors said that preliminary federal sentencing guidelines call for a range of 2 to 2 1/2 years, according to the newspaper.

Prosecutors said Globensky, who began working at the fabled golf course as a warehouse assistant in 2007, admitted that the thefts occurred between 2009 and 2022, The Augusta Chronicle reported.

Items Globensky allegedly stole included the green jackets of Masters champions Palmer, Gene Sarazen and Ben Hogan, according to the newspaper. Other items included documents written and signed by club co-founder Bobby Jones, Masters shirts, watches, hats and flags. Globensky also allegedly stole programs from 1934 and 1935 and a clubhouse trophy, WDRW-TV reported.

Globensky said he loaded the stolen items onto a truck and hid them in an offsite storage facility, the Tribune reported. He is accused of transporting the goods and merchandise to Tampa, Florida.

According to a news release, the plea agreement stated that the merchandise was sold to an online broker in Florida for a total of approximately $5.3 million. The memorabilia was sold to the same broker and an associate of the broker for nearly $300,000, the release stated.

According to the plea agreement, the actual loss to Augusta National was closer to $3.5 million, the Tribune reported.

The broker, identified in court records only as Individual A, paid Globensky through various means, including through a limited liability company in the name of Globensky’s wife, the Tribune reported.

As part of a plea deal, Globensky must write a $1.5 million cashier’s check to the government within days, according to the newspaper. The rest of the amount will be due after he serves his sentence.

A private, for-profit club, Augusta National was founded by Jones and Clifford Roberts in 1932 and has hosted the Masters since 1934. The club is very protective of its official memorabilia, including the green jacket, which it began awarding to the winner of the golf major in 1949, the Tribune reported.

Palmer’s jacket featured a white nameplate stitched into the right interior breast with “Arnold Palmer” written on it, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Sentencing in the case is set for Oct. 29.

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