Unabomber's prized possessions up for auction

May 12, 2011 4:20:14 PM PDT
Before bin Laden and al-Qaida, and earlier than Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City, America's most wanted terrorist was from suburban Chicago.

His name was Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.

In this Intelligence Report: Tools of the Unabomber's trade are about to go on the auction block.

For years, Theodore Kaczynski tried convincing the courts to prevent his personal belongings from being sold by the same government that prosecuted him. But he lost, and starting next week the U.S. Marshals Service will sell some of Kaczynski's prized possessions by online auction. Proceeds will be used to compensate the Unabomber's victims.

When Kaczynski was arrested in 1996 and charged with nearly 20 years of mail bomb attacks he had been living as a hermit in the Montana woods. Kaczynski's home was a one-room cabin with no utilities.

Federal authorities had nicknamed the case "Unabomber" because universities and airlines were his targets, including United Airlines President Percy Wood, who opened a package at his Lake Forest home in June 1980 and it blew up in his face.

Wood was among 23 people injured and three killed by the Unabomber.

Kaczynski is serving a life sentence at the supermax prison in Colorado. He turns 69 this month.

May 18 through June 2, 60 items used or made by the Unabomber will be auctioned. Among the items on the internet auction block are tools used to survive in his wilderness shack, and to make pipe bombs and other explosive tricks used on his victims:

  • an axe and a hachet,
  • his shoes and sweatshirts,
  • and several sunglasses he wore to disguise his appearance while placing bombs in locations from Washington-state to Utah. The aviators resulted in the famous police sketch of the notorious Unabomber.

Also for sale: Personal documents, including his Chicago birth certificate and his Illinois driver's license from the late 1970s listing this address in west suburban Lombard, where authorities say Kaczynski conceived his antisocial dogma.

The Unabomber's manual typewriter is for sale, as are 20,000 pages of his documents, including handwritten documents in code and the original "unabomb manifesto," the gospel behind his religion of anti-technology.

Percy Wood, the one-time president of United Airlines and a 1980 Unabomber victim, died of natural causes three years ago. Many of the Unabomber's victims have since died. But their family members and those who are still alive are to receive the proceeds of Ted Kaczynski's artifacts.

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