The federal government is selling the possessions of criminal mastermind Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, to provide up to $15 million in restitution to victims, says NPR. Kaczynski’s bombs killed three people and injured dozens. “Now clearly we don’t expect to make anywhere close to $15 million,” says U.S. Marshal Albert Najera in the Eastern District of California. “But whatever it is that we get back will, in fact, go directly back to the victims.”
“A lot of these people have found a place in pop culture,” says John Hickey, a consignment director with Heritage Auctions. “They transcend quote ‘criminals.’ ” Heritage, based in Dallas, has sold Bonnie and Clyde “wanted” posters, John Dillinger’s wooden gun, and letters from Lee Harvey Oswald. Hickey says they’re generally high-ticket items. “The collectors I suspect are going to be almost universally male — and guys certainly over 40 and maybe 50 and fairly affluent, I suspect,” Hickey says. “And they’re going to want to have something that they can pull out at a cocktail party or whatever and make conversation with.” Prof. David Schmid of the University at Buffalo, author of a book on serial killers in American culture, says these auctions raise questions about whether they promote criminals — or whether they help the victims.