On Friday night, thieves broke into the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum and stole a rare, gold replica of the 1969 Lunar Excursion Module, according to police in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
The artifact once belonged to Armstrong himself. Crafted by Cartier, the solid gold replicas were presented to Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in Paris shortly after their historic moon mission.
Police in Wapakoneta, a city of just under 10,000 in northwest Ohio, responded to an alarm at the museum just before midnight. Upon arrival they discovered that the artifact, which is 5 inches high and about 4.5 inches square, had been stolen. Police say that the value of the Lunar Excursion Module cannot be determined.
Local police are being assisted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta in 1930. The museum was opened in 1972 to celebrate the astronaut and Ohio’s contribution to space exploration. At the time, citizens of Wapakoneta raised over $528,313 to build the museum — over half of the total cost.