Tricky Dick’s Moon Rock Found
Coleman Anderson, best known for his role as one of the first captains to be featured on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, is creating news in Seattle, despite now residing all the way in Corpus Christi, Texas. Anderson, who was also a Seattle businessman, is being accused by the state of Alaska of theft, but that’s not even the unique part of the story.
The real tale dates back to over 37 years ago, when investigating the remnants of an arson fire that tore through the Alaska Transportation Museum in Anchorage in 1973, Anderson came across a plaque that he claims was garbage. Instead, the plaque was actually the remains of a moon rock, presented to the state of Alaska by then-President Richard Nixon after the safe return of the Apollo 11 trip back from the moon in 1969.
Anderson, maintaining the plaque was left out to be tossed into a landfill, took it for his own, and only recently acknowledged that he had possession of the rock (one of only 230 in the world) in a lawsuit against the state of Alaska that he’s filed in an attempt to keep what he’s been in possession of for 37 years. Though it seems pretty mundane, the fact is that people are offering up to $5 million for such moon rocks on the black market, so the offense of stealing one can be pretty serious.
The 55-year old Anderson is claiming that at the very least he needs to be reimbursed for the time, effort and personal finance that he’s put into restoring the plaque itself. And while it hasn’t been verified, the plaque is said by former NASA investigator Joe Gutheinz to be the real deal. The bad news for Anderson, though, is that the state of Alaska, led by Gutheinz, who’s now an attorney in Houston, has filed a counterclaim not only asking for the return of the moon rock, but also damages for Anderson’s holding of the rock for so long.
Anderson’s attorney, the Seattle-based Daniel Harris, isn’t about to give up without a fight, though, claiming that the state of Alaska never so much as filed a report on the missing rock. The case may take quite awhile to come to a resolution, but in the meantime Anderson should relish holding on to the rock for as long as he can. Not only will a loss mean he must give up the rock, but having to pay damages for taking it would just add insult to injury. Best of luck Coleman, you’ve got quite the battle in front of you.