Former NASA worker accused of selling stolen shuttle parts

PORT ST. JOHN, FL (CNN) - Authorities accused a Florida man of trying to make a profit off of stolen pieces of a NASA space shuttle by selling the parts on EBay.

Federal agents raided the home of David Abbey, a former shuttle contractor, earlier this week.

United Space Alliance confirmed that Abbey, and his wife, used to work for them.

For six hours, authorities searched their home and snapped photos, but would not tell the media what they were looking for or what they found.

"What I've heard from other neighbors is that he had stolen some shuttle tiles and he was selling them," a neighbor, Ingrid Breithaupt, said.

Almost every neighbor spoken to said roughly the same thing, except one.

Robert Germain insisted that Abbey made the thermal tiles that form the shuttle's heat shield and also worked to install and replace them.

Germain said the tiles Abbey had were from the scrap pile and had been given to them.

"They were broken and of no use to anyone," Germain said, and did not believe Abbey had done anything illegal.

Other sellers on EBay, from all around the world, sell space shuttle tiles.

Some have even fetched some serious pocket change, with one going for $316.

But many of the tiles are obviously retired and surplus, with "scrap" stamped on all sides.

Abbey has not been formally charged, but investigators said he could be soon.

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