Anaheim police arrest man in Olympic gold medal theft

Two people bite gold disks.
Jordyn Poulter, right, at the Olympics with teammate Haleigh Washington after their victory over Brazil.
(Gary Ambrose / For The Times)

Police arrested a man in connection with the theft of Olympian Jordyn Poulter’s gold medal late last month in Anaheim, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

The medal, however, remains missing.

Jordan Fernandez, a 31-year-old Anaheim resident, was arrested Friday, jail records show. He was charged Tuesday with first-degree residential burglary, second-degree vehicle burglary, felony identity theft and felony possession of narcotics, according to the Anaheim Police Department.

“Unfortunately, Jordyn’s Olympic gold medal has not yet been recovered and she is offering a $1,000 reward for its safe return, no questions asked,” police said.


The theft occurred on May 25, police said.

Poulter, the starting setter for the U.S. women’s volleyball team that celebrated a historic victory over Brazil at last summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, told police that she parked a rental car in her garage, went inside to shower and got ready for a Zoom meeting.

She left the car unlocked and the garage door open.

Jordyn Poulter’s gold medal was stolen when she left it in an unlocked car in Anaheim: ‘Obviously, hindsight is 20/20.’

May 28, 2022

When Poulter came back, she saw that someone had rummaged through the car and taken the black shoulder bag that held her passport.

The medal, which she had in the center console, was also gone.

Poulter said the medal represents the culmination of her work in the sport and the sacrifices of many others in building the women’s volleyball program to a pinnacle of achievement.

To have that prized artifact taken away by someone, she said, “is such a bummer.”


Speaking with reporters on May 27 at at the team’s training gym in Anaheim, the Olympian said she hopes whoever took the medal realizes that trying to pawn it wouldn’t be lucrative.

“It’s not pure gold, so if you try to melt it down, it’s not going to get you very far,” Poulter said. “The inside is made of recycled computer parts and then plated. So it’s not worth much in that sense.”

“It means a lot more to me than I think the monetary value,” she said.

Anyone with information on the medal’s whereabouts is asked to call the Anaheim Police Department at (714) 765-1900 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.