Official Stole Neil Armstrong's Customs Form, Feds Charge

Posted Jul 21st 2010 02:06 PMUpdated Jul 23rd 2010 02:15 PM


Two men, one a US Customs official, are facing federal charges in Boston for stealing Astronaut Neil Armstrong's signed customs declaration form.

Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, had signed a standard form and turned it in after landing on an international flight at Logan International Airport. A US Customs and Border Protection technician and his friend are accused of making off with the document and trying to sell it, the Boston Globe reports.

Police arrested the two Massachusetts men, Thomas Chapman, 50, of Malden, and his friend Paul Brickman, 50, of Chelsea. According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, they were charged with stealing and conveying an official record of the United States.

Chapman was working when Armstrong passed through a CBP checkpoint at Logan on March 13, according to the complaint. Rather than properly filing Armstrong's customs form, he allegedly kept it and took it to Brickman's home.

The two then contacted someone who specializes in collectible signatures, according to media reports. The document was brought to an auction company that sells memorabilia.

Prosecutors say bidding began May 22 at $200 and reached $1,026 before someone questioned the legality of selling a government document.

Chapman and Brickman each face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Armstrong, 79, lives in Ohio.

Photo of Astronaut Neil Armstrong, NASA, 1969
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