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NASA Sting: Riverside Woman Tries to Sell 'Moon Rock' to Feds for $1.7M

NASA Sting: Riverside Woman Tries to Sell 'Moon Rock' to Feds for $1.7M
Los Angeles Times

What dork in his right mind would offer $1.7 million for a big drab hunk of moon, you ask? Turns out the feds will -- but a Riverside woman found out the hard way, via cutty deal at a desolate Lake Elsinore diner, that they're not so much good for their money.

The undercover NASA brainiacs traded their rocket wear for a sketch disguise as Joe-blow millionaires, the finale of a months-long investigation. (Moon rocks are apparently "national treasures.") The Riverside County Sheriff's Department describes the Thursday-morning dogpile of deputies and cops and, uh, astronauts:

After conversation, the moon rock was produced inside the restaurant. Several Lake Elsinore Police investigators and NASA agents moved in on the suspect, took possession of the moon rock and detained the female.

The department alleges that "moon rocks and other space travel artifacts ... are not to be sold on any market." Does that exclude the Interwebs? Because we've been scoping multiple online moon-rock retailers (it's actually one of our hobbies), and these "artifacts" appear to be very much up for sale.

The pitch: "Have you got your piece of the Moon yet?"

Why no, we haven't! Here's what Lunar Meteorite Store has to offer:

NASA Sting: Riverside Woman Tries to Sell 'Moon Rock' to Feds for $1.7M
Lunar Meteorite Store
Find: October 2006!!!

Classification: Achondrite (Lunar); extensive shock!!! a RARE unbrecciated Basalt!!!

TKW: 1.37 Kilos!!!

Location: Rissani, Morocco!!!

Specimen weight: 9.46 grams!!!

Specimen Type: Wire cut World Class Slice!!!

FREE Membrane case!!!

Thanks, but no thanks: We prefer our moon rocks bulbous and scraggly, like that beaut from the NASA sting.

Well, if it was even a moon rock at all; NASA officials say the investigation is still ongoing. Maybe they should turn a magnifying glass to the Interwebs in the meantime?

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]


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