Energy

Somebody Stole A Lunar Spacecraft Right Out Of A Museum

(Shutterstock/Vadim Sadovski)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

A thief took the gold replica of a lunar landing module astronaut that Neil Armstrong gifted to an Ohio museum, local police confirmed Tuesday.

The five inch-tall, solid gold replica was stolen from the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in the astronaut’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio. Police don’t have much to go one, with only a single blurry image of the thief taken by a security camera.

French jewelers made gold replicas of the lander, which were given to Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins as part of a celebratory world tour following their return from space in 1969.

The museum said the loss of the space-age artifact could not be measured in dollars and cents.

“The truth is that you can’t steal from a museum,” the museum said in a Facebook post. “Museum’s don’t ‘own’ artifacts. We are simply vessels of the public trust. Museums care for and exhibit items on behalf of you, the public. Theft from a museum is a theft from all of us.”

Along with the gold replica, other items in the same exhibit display were also taken, including award medals and presentation coins, local police said.

The only evidence of the thief is a blurry image of the thief taken via security camera, which has not helped police identify the suspect. The theif entered the museum by breaking in through the front entrance in the middle of the night. Local police believed more than one person was involved in the burglary.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation,” Russel Hunlock, the local police chief, said in a statement. “I will continue to release information as I can, but I will not tarnish the integrity of the investigation.”

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