If you have any moon rocks at home you may want to forget about ever trying to sell them. A California grandma learned the hard way that the feds don’t like it when you try to sell moon rock dust.
According to CBS News, 74-year-old Joann Davis wanted to sell a tiny bit of moon rock she’s had lying around for almost forty years. Seems like a harmless act right?
Well, federal agents didn’t think so.
Maybe it’s because the tiny piece of moon rock dust is potentially worth more than $1 million, or maybe it’s because selling moon rocks is somehow a public health concern. But all Davis knows is that when she tried to sell the rock in May, she was taken down by federal agents.
On the day in question, Davis thought that she was going to her local Denny’s to unload the rock on an interested customer. She soon found herself being treated like a dangerous criminal.
Davis recalled the scenario, "Someone is grabbing me from the back. Now they're pulling me out of the booth and they have a hold of me pretty darn good, and the force was like, unnecessary ... because I'm like 110 (pounds). I'm four-foot-eleven."
Davis wanted to sell the tiny piece of moon rock housed in a paperweight that she says was given to her space engineer husband 40 years ago. Unfortunately, when she called NASA to see if they could direct her to an interested buyer, the feds set her up for a sting.
They were working under the assumption that she was trying to sell stolen government property.
Davis swears that the item is not stolen.
"I know it and they know it too," she said. "But how else are they going to credit themselves with how they took it? How do they justify it?"
NASA didn’t offer a comment on the ongoing investigation. And five months after being detained and questioned for two hours, Davis still has no idea what crime she is guilty of committing.
Peter Schlueter, Davis' attorney, said, "There's no such law that moon rocks belong to the federal government. There are laws about stealing from the federal government and I understand that, and if anybody could show that these moon rocks were stolen from the federal government, that's a horse of a different color, but they haven't shown that."
She must not have got the memo that says the government owns all moon rocks.
Davis says that the overly aggressive agents bruised her arm and tailbone during the string, but it’s her mental wounds that are the worst.
"I felt humiliated," Davis said. "I felt, this may not be proper to say, but I tell you, I felt raped. I really did."
Now, all Davis wants is for NASA to return what they (legally) stole from her. She and Schlueter are also considering legal action.
Schlueter doesn’t expect the federal agents to levy any charges against his client; he also doesn’t think they’ll ever give her back her moon rock.
Don’t be surprised if it turns on EBay, NASA needs all the money they can get since they've been defunded.