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Two charged with stealing Neil Armstrong customs form

by Staff Writers
Boston, Massachusetts (AFP) July 20, 2010
Two US men were charged Tuesday with stealing a customs document from Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, with the goal of selling the former astronaut's autograph.

The pair, who were charged in Boston federal court, attempted to sell the form Armstrong filled out at the city's Logan International Airport on March 13, legal documents said.

Defendant Thomas Chapman, a customs official, offered Armstrong help with his luggage as he arrived back in the United States after visiting US troops stationed overseas.

But instead of submitting the former astronaut's customs form to the Department of Homeland Security, Chapman pocketed the document signed by Armstrong, who made history with Apollo 11 comrade Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin when they stepped on the moon 41 years ago.

Chapman and co-defendant Paul Brickman then allegedly approached an online memorabilia auctioneer with the signed document, hoping to make some money from the "autographed" form.

If convicted of stealing and conveying an official document they both face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 250,000, the prosecutor's office in Boston said.

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