Suspect in Moon Rocks Case Admits Identity

Suspect in Moon Rocks Case Admits Identity

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- The suspect who didn't show up for a Florida trial on charges of stealing moon rocks admitted his identity in a Utah court today.

That means Gordon McWhorter of Salt Lake City now will be sent to Florida to face a federal trial.

He was the only one of the four defendants who did not plead guilty to last year's thefts from N-A-S-A's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

McWhorter failed to show up for trial in Florida last Monday and was arrested one day later at Juice and Java in Provo. He was taken before U-S Magistrate David Nuffer in Salt Lake City for an identity hearing yesterday, but was not cooperative. Another hearing was set for today.

The stolen rocks came from every Apollo mission from 1969 to 1972.

The F-B-I in Tampa began investigating in May 2002 when a Belgian rock collector alerted investigators to Internet offers to sell moon rocks for one thousand dollars to five thousand dollars a gram.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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