BOSTON -- A man who unwittingly stole two flower planters worth $8,000 from behind Tom Brady's Boston condominium said Friday he has to panhandle to pay restitution.
Dennis Paiva told the Boston Herald he scours the streets for trash to sell. He said he took the planters from behind a condominium because they were next to the trash and sold them for $450.
Police caught him on surveillance video. The 61-year-old convicted bank robber, who got out of prison five years ago after serving a 10-year term, said he had no idea they belonged to the New England Patriots quarterback, the Herald reported.
"I saw these two stainless steel metal containers behind a garage next to the trash," Paiva told the newspaper. "Scrap metal was really high at the time so I grabbed them and put them in my truck."
Shortly thereafter, Paiva said he received a call from a Boston police detective.
"The guy mentions I took some flower pots," Paiva recounted for the Herald. "I said, 'I don't know what you're talking about.' He said, 'We got you on the security camera.' And I said, 'Yeah, I took them, but they were out with the trash.' He said, 'You gotta get them back. You don't even want to know who they belong to!' "
Paiva agreed to pay $4,000 restitution to Brady's real estate trust. But he said he can't work after recent surgery so he begs passers-by for money.
A photograph on the Herald's Web site pictures Paiva on a street holding up a sign that reads, "I'm not a drunk or a bum. I had an aneurism [sic] followed by brain surgery. I lost every thing. I'm trying to get my life back. Any help you could give I'd appreciate very much. Denny"
A Patriots spokesman said he doubts Brady is aware of Paiva's situation.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.