Here is the story as reported by Listverse. Seems to be taken right out of a spy novel!
Photo via Google Street View
Apollo BP-1227 was a mock-up Apollo capsule used by US ships to simulate the recovery of Apollo astronauts. In 1970, it was apparently lost at sea near Great Britain while being used. However, there was a Soviet ship nearby which could have stolen it. It would soon find its way back into American hands, however.
In late 1970, the US icebreaker Southwind was visiting the Soviet port of Murmansk when Soviet officials there unveiled an Apollo capsule which turned out to be BP-1227. The Soviets claimed that it had been recovered by a Soviet fishing boat off the eastern coast of Spain and transferred the capsule back to the crew of the Southwind with pomp and ceremony. The Southwind carried it back to the United States, where it was returned to NASA and ended up on display.
What happened to BP-1227 between its loss at sea and its handover to the Southwind remains a mystery.
I figure the Russians were taking the thing apart and trying to get a little knowledge from it's design. Could be wrong, but...I'm just saying!
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Weather guy says no rain!