The Surprising Way The Stolen Jules Rimet Trophy Was Found

The Jules Rimet Trophy was the original prize that soccer teams played for during the FIFA World Cup. It was named after the man who devised the competition, which was first held in 1930. Per The Sportsman, FIFA decided that the first team to win the World Cup three times would get to keep the trophy — forever. In 1970, Brazil achieved this feat in a thrilling final match against Italy, but this may never have come to pass. The trophy was stolen in 1966, but it was later recovered under extraordinary circumstances by an enterprising little dog.

The 1966 FIFA World Cup was held in England. The home nation ultimately won, but they were lucky there was a trophy to be awarded at all. History Extra explains that it was being showcased in a stamp collectors' convention at London's Westminster Central Hall, which opened on March 19. The very next day, security guards discovered that the building had been broken into through a rear entrance and the trophy stolen from its display cabinet.

Needless to say, with the prestigious event beginning in a matter of months, a feverish search for the trophy began. There were no leads until a note received by the Football Association led police to one Edward Betchley. Despite being questioned, there was no evidence that he ever had the Jules Rimet Trophy. 

England is saved by Pickles

Betchley's arrest and subsequent release led nowhere, and the police were still baffled as to who stole the Jules Rimet trophy. However, one a full week after the theft, pure luck saved the day.

After sunset, on March 27, Dave Corbett was out walking his dog Pickles when the clever canine noticed something. Corbett told the BBC that Pickles had been, "running around over by my neighbor's car," when Corbett noticed, "a package laying there, wrapped just in newspaper." Beneath sections of the paper, he noticed engravings that were impossibly familiar. He was in no doubt about what he had just found, saying, "I'd seen the pictures of the World Cup in the papers and on TV."

According to Martin Atherton's "The Theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy: The Hidden History of the 1966 World Cup," Corbett and Pickles were "told that it was most probable that someone had thrown the trophy out of a passing car." This is supported by the awkward angle at which it had come to rest. The culprit was never identified, but Pickles and Corbett enjoyed their newfound celebrity. Per History Extra, the trophy was stolen again in 1983, this time from its supposedly permanent home in Brazil.