Customs Officer Charged With Stealing Neil Armstrong’s Signature

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July 23, 2010 10:08 a.m.

In one small theft for man, a customs officer has been charged with stealing a customs form signed by astronaut Neil Armstrong and trying to sell it at auction.

The Customs and Border Patrol tech, 50-year-old Thomas Chapman, allegedly helped Armstrong with his bags when the astronaut went through customs at Boston’s Logan Airport in March. He then took the declaration form, signed by Armstrong, and, instead of filing it, took it home.According to prosecutors, the next day Chapman brought the form to his buddy, Paul Brickman, and the two decided to try to profit from the signature. They called someone who specializes in collectible signatures, and that person brought it to an online auction company.

The bidding started at $200 and got up to more than $1,000 before someone pointed out that it’s probably illegal to sell an official government document.

Chapman and Brickman were both charged this week with stealing and conveying an official record of the United States. If convicted, the two could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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