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Couple arraigned on TWA evidence theft

Recovered seats
Seats recovered from the crash   
December 9, 1997
Web posted at: 10:24 p.m. EST (0324 GMT)

UNIONDALE, New York (CNN) -- A flight attendant and her husband, charged with stealing material recovered in the wreckage of the TWA airliner that crashed near New York last year, were arraigned in federal court Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn issued arrest warrants Friday for James Sanders, author of the book "The Downing of Flight 800," his TWA flight attendant wife Elizabeth Sanders and TWA pilot Capt. Robert Terrell Stacey, who was working on the crash investigation.

The complaint against the three claims they stole seat fabric from the Boeing 747 that exploded in mid-air without warning and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island July 17, 1996. All 230 passengers on board were killed. The plane was on a flight from New York to Paris.

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky Tuesday ordered the couple to sign a $50,000 bond and to report in by telephone to the pretrial services division once a week.

No trial date was set. If convicted, the Sanders face up to 10 years in prison. Stacey's arraignment was expected later this week.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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