A replica of the lunar mobile Apollo 11 made entirely of gold has been on display at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum until Friday, when it was stolen. The authorities have started looking for the gold replica immediately, and hope to find it just in time. They fear the thief might choose to melt it down instead of trying to sell it as it is.
Thieves broke into the Armstrong Museum
On Friday evening, just before midnight, an alarm went off at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Armstrong’s hometown Wapakoneta, Ohio. As the authorities reached the museum, they discovered how the Apollo 11 gold replica was missing.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin received a solid gold replica of the lunar mobile they flew in in 1969 from a French jeweler. The man, called Cartier, made the artifact to honor the first astronauts to set foot on the moon, and offered it to the astronauts shortly after they returned to Earth.
The burglars might not be interested in collectibles
Joseph Gutheinz Jr., a former NASA agent, came to the museum immediately after the burglary. He observed how the thieves left some other artifacts untouched. They could have taken a moon rock and find a collector to buy it for several millions of dollars.
This means they either couldn’t manage to take the rock out from its place, or were not interested in collectible items. Even so, they were looking for a way to get money quickly, which worried the authorities even more. As the replica they stole is made of gold, they might be looking to melt it down.
Both the authorities and NASA officials hope they won’t resort to such a measure, as the gold replica is an extremely valuable artifact. Also, this would make it harder for the police to track down and find the thieves. In the investigation, the local police will receive help from the Ohio Bureau of Investigation.
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