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  Neil Armstrong's customs form stolen by worker

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Author Topic:   Neil Armstrong's customs form stolen by worker
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 28757
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-20-2010 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neil Armstrong's declaration form allegedly stolen by customs worker and friend

A customs declaration form filled out by astronaut Neil Armstrong was allegedly stolen by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection worker and his friend, who together attempted to sell it at auction, announced federal prosecutors Tuesday on the 41st anniversary of the first moonwalker's historic "small step."

If found guilty of stealing and conveying an official record of the United States, the two men could each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the United States Attorney's Office.


Posts: 1516
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 07-21-2010 07:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This incident must give Armstrong even more fortitude in his mind that his autograph is nothing more to people today than a cash cow and fortifies even more that he will not ever sign again.

This is the kind of help that true collectors didn't need.


Posts: 3295
From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 07-21-2010 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a video report: Logan Employee Accused Of Stealing Famous Signature


Posts: 1398
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 07-21-2010 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that what these guys did with the form is outright mindless and highly unethical. They should get slapped down by the full weight of the federal law. I feel bad for Neil Armstrong in a way.


Posts: 615
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 07-21-2010 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have seen in very limited circumstances that he uses a different style of signature when signing official documents than when signing autographs. Perhaps he does it for just this reason - so the documents can't be exploited - or perhaps just because his signature is so famous that he might be concerned people will use it for identity-theft-type purposes.

Jay Chladek

Posts: 2255
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 07-21-2010 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It might indeed be that case as using a popular autograph in the same style you sign forms or write checks might be a bit dangerous these days with identity theft running rampant.

As for the two guys, they should get prosecuted since they did a very stupid, illegal and greedy thing.


Posts: 3622
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 07-22-2010 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neil has used that type of signature on official documents for at least 20 years...if not longer. There are several examples of that signature style out there. (The one on the customs form is a bit sloppy compared to most, however.)

The more classic "Neil Atg" autograph style seems to be something he used mainly for souvenir autographs and for signing correspondance...not for legal documents.

Even back in the 60s when Neil's "legal" signature and souvenir signature were closer in style, Neil appeared to take greater effort to spell out his last name in you can see in the July 16, 1969 check written to Harold Collins.


Posts: 3127
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 07-22-2010 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Doesn't anyone else find it vaguely worrying that the auction house didn't recognise the likely illegality of this on their own initiative or at least question the source for such a recent offical form? I questioned it as soon as I saw it listed and I'm not even a US citizen!

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 28757
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-22-2010 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know all the details but from what I have been able to discern there were concerns raised within the company.

Separately though, the consignor -- who the federal complaint does not name but is said to be cooperating with authorities -- must have represented that he had the legal right to offer it for sale as the consignment agreement includes that as one of its conditions.

By the way, I've just learned that WMUR9 New Hampshire has filed a news report that cites and shows collectSPACE.


Posts: 432
From: London, England
Registered: May 2001

posted 02-25-2011 04:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mmmoo   Click Here to Email mmmoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the Boston Herald:
Two men trying to land a big payday on the name of American hero Neil Armstrong were given probation yesterday by a judge who ruled they've suffered enough already.

"I think we have all done something in our lives we wish we could take back. I wish both of you well. I'm sorry it came to this," U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns told Thomas Chapman and Paul Brickman after sentencing each to two years' probation for trying to auction online a signed customs declaration Chapman stole from the notoriously autograph-shy Apollo 11 commander last March while employed as a U.S. Customs agent at Logan International Airport.

Because Armstrong's identity wasn't stolen and Chapman's hijinks cost him a job he'd held for 20 years, assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Fisher told Stearns the feds weren't pressing for prison time for the lifelong friends.

All times are CT (US)

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