Museum Volunteer Charged

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A longtime volunteer at a New York flight museum has been charged after trying to sell what the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome claims is one of its artifacts on eBay. But Christopher Rogine, 48, of Red Hook, told the Poughkeepsie Journal that the huge parachute that helped lower an Apollo spacecraft to Earth was his to sell. He was asking $9,500. Rogine was arrested after an employee at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington spotted the eBay posting. The Smithsonian had originally given the chute to Old Rhinebeck after astronauts Charles Conrad, Joseph Kerwin and Paul Weitz were finished using it on a return trip from the Skylab space station in 1973. Rogine said the chute has been in his home workshop for 20 years since a former employee of Old Rhinebeck founder Cole Palen gave it to him, complete with paperwork certifying its authenticity. Rogine said he finally decided to sell the chute, which is more than 50 feet in diameter and weighs hundreds of pounds, to finance an aircraft restoration project. Tom Daly, director of the aerodrome, called the parachute a "national treasure" and thanked police for its return, although he didn't explain why it hadn't been missed in the last 20 years. Rogine has been charged with felony possession of stolen property.