SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — The very technology that the Unabomber railed against during his murderous spree was used Thursday to help some of his victims.
An unusual online auction of Ted Kaczynski’s personal items has so far garnered about $175,000 for his victims and their family members. They want the so-called Unabomber to pay for the 16 explosions he set off that killed three and injured 23 others across the country.
Kaczynski’s personal journals fetched $40,676; the iconic hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses depicted in police sketch artist renderings accounted for $20,025; and his handwritten “manifesto” sold for $20,053. Other popular items included $22,003 for the Smith Corona typewriter seized from the cabin and $17,780 for his autobiography.
The auction was a culmination of a seven-year legal battle designed to block Kaczynski from regaining ownership of the property seized from his remote Montana cabin during a 1996 raid.
Kaczynski, representing himself in court, demanded return of the property so he could donate it to the University of Michigan, his alma mater. But because Kaczynski was ordered to pay his victims $15 million, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the property auctioned.
“He wanted his stuff back, and this way he doesn’t get it back,” said Susan Mosser, whose advertising executive husband Thomas was killed by a parcel bomb in 1994. “He also hasn’t paid a cent of restitution.”
Mosser said she hoped that some of the 40,000 pages of documents would end up in academia.
John Hickey, a consignment director at Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, said that several types of collectors could be expected to compete for the items.
“People who deal in historical events and lean toward the bad guys will be interested in this stuff,” said Hickey, whose company auctioned off a poem written by Lee Harvey Oswald and the infamous wooden gun John Dillinger used to break out of prison. Kaczynski “has also crossed over into pop culture and will attract those collectors.”
In all, collectors snatched up 58 items seized during the raid of Kaczynski’s remote Montana cabin in 1996. All the bidders remained anonymous.
Some victims and others opposed the auction as unseemly. They feared the publicity surrounding the event would add to Kaczynski’s renown at a time when they want him to languish quietly in the so-called supermax federal prison in Florence, Colo.
There was concern that some of the writings contained Kaczynski’s gloating over the bombings between 1978 and 1995. He led authorities on the nation’s longest, costliest manhunt before his brother tipped off authorities in 1996.
FBI agents painstakingly censored all references to Kazcynzki’s victims in the 40,000 pages of documents and other items seized from the cabin and put up for sale.
“This is really the best option,” said Jeffrey Dion, director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. “The proceeds go directly to the victims.”
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