The wackiest part of this chain of events? That NASA has undercover agents who orchestrate stings to crack down on space crimes. Via the Guardian:
A woman who tried to sell what she said was a rare piece of moon rock for $1.7 million was detained when her would-be buyer turned out to be an undercover NASA agent, officials said Friday.
The gray rocks, which are considered national treasures and are illegal to sell, were given to each U.S. state and 136 countries by then-President Richard Nixon after U.S. moon missions and can sell for millions of dollars on the black market.
NASA investigators and Riverside County sheriff’s deputies detained the woman after she met Thursday with an undercover NASA investigator at a restaurant in Lake Elsinore, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the sheriff’s office said. The investigation was conducted over several months.
NASA planned to conduct tests to determine whether the rock came from the moon as the woman claimed. “We don’t know if it’s lunar material,” said Gail Robinson, deputy inspector general at the space agency.