Lowering the Bar has a two-part series on a pair of US fed moon-rock busts; one involving a Honduran colonel, both involving Denny's restaurants, and both involving a moon rock. It's the fast-food/extraterrestrial contraband caper coincidence of the century!
In 1994, a man who was in Honduras on business "learned from a friend that a retired colonel from the Honduran military was seeking to sell a moon rock," which he said he had received "as a gift after a coup d'etat sometime around 1973." Despite the fact that this gift presumably had great sentimental value, the colonel was "quite anxious to sell it." Since there's nothing remotely suspicious about this kind of offer, and after he learned that a few specks of lunar dust had recently sold at auction for $500,000, the man returned to Honduras the next year and arranged to buy the item.
So far, this is just your run-of-the-mill buy-a-moon-rock-from-a-retired-Honduran-military-officer transaction, but here it gets a little weird. The seller arranged to have someone bring the moon rock (and the plaque on which it was mounted) to Miami for the exchange. As the reader pointed out to me, "the meeting took place at a Denny's restaurant near the airport." (Emphasis added.)
Feds Seize Alleged Moon Rock in California
Denny's Lunar Connection?
(Image: Fake Moon Rock, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from lumachrome's photostream; Old Denny's sign, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from cmartin82's photostream)
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