Theodore Kaczynski's worldly possessions went on sale Wednesday, with iconic items like his handwritten manifesto and his hoodie and sunglasses drawing immediate interest from online bidders.
But even as the federal government used the sale to raise money for victims of the Unabomber, new signs emerged that Kaczynski is under investigation in another series of crimes: the infamous 1982 Tylenol poisonings that killed seven people.
In documents filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Kaczynski revealed that prison officials in Colorado visited him three weeks ago with a request from the FBI in Chicago for samples of his DNA.
Kaczynski, 69, who is serving a life sentence at a "supermax" prison in Florence, Colo., wrote that "the FBI wanted a sample of my DNA to compare with some partial DNA profiles connected with a 1982 event in which someone put potassium cyanide in Tylenol."
The reference apparently is to the unsolved 1982 poisoning case in Chicago that led to the first mass recall of a retail product and, eventually, to tamper-proof packages on food and drug items.
Amateur sleuths have posted theories online for years suggesting Kaczynski, whose parents lived in the Chicago area, may have been involved in the poisonings. But his handwritten letter to the court is the first sign that federal investigators may be seriously considering the possibility.
Kaczynski made the claim in a 10-page letter filed last week in an attempt to stop part of the auction to preserve evidence that could prove his whereabouts and activities in 1982.
"I have never even possessed any potassium cyanide," he wrote to the court.
FBI officials in Chicago did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, and the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento filed papers Monday opposing a halt to the auction.
"Kaczynski has not been indicted in connection with the Chicago Tylenol investigation, and no such federal prosecution is currently planned," the government's motion stated.
U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr., who ordered the auction to generate at least a portion of the $15 million in restitution Kaczynski was ordered to pay his victims, did not rule on Kaczynski's request by Wednesday morning, and the auction began as planned.
Items on the auction block were seized in 1996 from Kaczynski's one-room cabin in the Montana woods that served as his base of operations for an 18-year bombing campaign that killed three people (two in Sacramento) and injured 23 others around the country.
All 60 lots of items started at a $25 base price and within hours the two most popular items were the handwritten manifesto, which was bid to more than $10,000, and the hoodie, which was bid to more than $3,000.
The bidding is expected to shoot higher, as the auction -- at continues until at least June 2. See http://gsaauctions.gov/gsaauctions/ gsaauctions/
Among the items for sale are Kaczynski's typewriters, a collection of driver's licenses and a birth certificate, knives, bows and arrows, newspaper clippings about his terror campaign and a well-worn copy of a King James Bible.
"The items that seem to be obtaining the highest bids aren't surprising, such as the original manuscript of his manifesto," said Shyam Reddy, regional administrator of the General Services Administration in Atlanta.
Many items attracted only a handful of bidders at first, though the auction will continue beyond June 2 if there is interest.
Kaczynski, who railed against technology as part of his bombing campaign, was arrested after David Kaczynski alerted authorities to his brother's writings, which he found while cleaning out the attic of their parents' Chicago-area home.
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com.)