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Four Arrested In Scheme To Sell Stolen Moon Rocks

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 660 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... Thanks to Jim Torson. ... FOUR ARRESTED IN SCHEME TO
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 24, 2002
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      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 660
      Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message.


      Thanks to Jim Torson.


      National Aeronautics and Space Administration
      Office of Inspector General
      July 22, 2002


      On July 20, 2002, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Tampa and the
      NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) recovered priceless lunar samples
      brought back to Earth by each of the Apollo missions that landed on the
      moon. A 600-pound safe containing lunar samples from every Apollo mission
      was stolen from the Johnson Space Center on July 13.

      James F. Jarboe, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Tampa Division, and Lance
      Carrington, NASA OIG Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, today
      announced the arrest, without incident, of three individuals, Thad Ryan
      Roberts, Age 25; Tiffany Brooke Fowler, age 22; and Gordon Sean McWorter,
      age 26. The three were taken into custody late Saturday in Orlando, Florida,
      by Special Agents of the FBI and the NASA OIG and charged with Conspiracy to
      Commit Theft of Government Property and Transportation in Interstate
      Commerce of Stolen Property. A fourth individual, Shae Lynn Saur, age 19,
      was arrested in Houston and also charged with Conspiracy. Roberts, Fowler,
      and Saur were student employees at Johnson Space Center.

      Jarboe stated that since May 2002, an FBI undercover operation has utilized
      e-mail to communicate with an individual offering priceless moon rocks,
      which the individual described as the world┬╣s largest private and verifiable
      Apollo rock collection. The e-mail messages were sent from several locations
      -- the University of Utah, Johnson Space Center and a public library in
      Houston. The continued exchanges included curatorial and historical records
      on the samples provided by the seller, and culminated in a meeting at a
      restaurant in Orlando over the weekend of July 20-21 to finalize the
      purchase of the Apollo moon rocks.

      Mr. Jarboe praised the joint investigative efforts of the NASA OIG and the
      FBI in the swift recovery and arrest(s) in this matter.

      The defendants arrested in Orlando were afforded their initial appearance
      before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas B. McCoun on July 22, 2002.

      The FBI began this investigation after receiving a tip through an e-mail
      address established by the Tampa Division for Internet Fraud Matters. The
      e-mail address is ifcc.tp@.... The NASA OIG also operates a
      cyber-hotline, which can be found at:


      For more information on this release, please call Paul Shawcross, Executive
      Officer, NASA Office of Inspector General, at (202) 358-2558.


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