Unabomber’s personal effects to be auctioned

SAN FRANCISCO – It is a collection of items both mundane and mysterious: tweezers, a pocketknife, a handmade tool.

Such were the personal items seized from the remote Montana shack of Unabomber Theodore J. Kaczynski that will be sold soon under order of a federal judge in an effort to pay off a $15 million restitution order.

In 1998, Mr. Kaczynski, 64, pleaded guilty to a series of mail bombings from 1978 to 1995 that killed three people and injured 28, some seriously.

Among the more intriguing items to be sold are original writings of Mr. Kaczynski seized by the government when he was captured in 1996.

A former mathematics professor who developed a hatred for the modern world, Mr. Kaczynski wrote a 35,000-word anti-technology manifesto that was published, at government request, in The Washington Post seven months before his capture. (The New York Times jointly financed publication of the tract.)

The manifesto was a key to his arrest, with his brother recognizing the document as characteristic of his sibling’s writing and notifying authorities.

The order, issued on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell, comes after a protracted legal skirmish between the government and Mr. Kaczynski, who is in a maximum security prison in Florence, Colo. Mr. Kaczynski long argued that his property should be returned to him, while the government wanted it held.

Last month, the government proposed an online auction of the personal items, with the proceeds going toward the restitution. Judge Burrell approved that plan, despite objections from Mr. Kaczynski.

A lawyer for Mr. Kaczynski couldn’t be reached for comment.

The auction list includes three typewriters, two masks and dozens of tools. There is also a blue zippered sweatshirt and blue hood, the signatures in artist’s sketches of the Unabomber.

Also included: two checkbooks in his name, a briefcase containing his degrees from the University of Michigan, and a homemade calendar.

“He was living in pretty dire straits,” said Quin Denvir, Mr. Kaczynski’s former lawyer. “It was a pretty primitive way of life, so his belongings are limited.”

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The New York Times, via the Dallas Morning News, USA
Aug. 11, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday August 12, 2006.
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