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The U.S. Marshals Service displays some of the personal belongings of the so-called Unabomber in the auction to raise money for his victims. Seen here are some wooden tools.
By NBC News’ Jesse Edoro
WASHINGTON — The National Museum of Crime and Punishment unveiled a new exhibit Thursday: “Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.”
Kaczynski, widely known as the “Unabomber,” conducted a mail bombing spree that spanned almost 20 years, killing three people and injuring 23. He was the subject of one of the FBI’s most extensive manhunts – but eluded capture for years by living an austere life in a remote cabin in Montana. His identity was finally discovered after his manifesto was published in 1995 by The New York Times and the Washington Post. His brother recognized his style of writing and his beliefs in the manifesto and tipped off the FBI, eventually leading to his capture, guilty plea and imprisonment.
The government conducted an auction of his belongings in June in an effort to pay off the $15 million restitution order to Kaczynski's victims and their families.
The exhibit features some of his personal items that the museum bought at the auction in June: a bowed wooden hand saw, Hanson 1509 scale and passport photos.
National Museum of Crime and Punishment
The scale that Ted Kaczynski used in making his bombs.
The items give a look into the ways of the convicted murderer: the wooden saw and the Hanson scale were used to build explosive devices in his remote cabin in the woods and the passport photos were used to evade authorities. The exhibit also features books from Kaczynski's cabin.
Janine Vaccarello, the museum's chief operating officer, said Thursday at the exhibit's opening that the museum acquired all of the pieces for under $2,000.
Michael Kortan, the FBI’s assistant director of public affairs, said the items give a sense of how difficult it was to track down the fugitive, who lived in seclusion for years.
Kaczynski had sent the 35,000-word essay to several newspapers demanding they publish it with the promise that he would stop his bombing campaign if they did. Kortan said that the Washington Post and The New York Times consulted with the FBI on whether publishing the manifesto would help solve the case. The manifesto’s publication ultimately led to the tip from David Kaczynski, Ted's brother. And it was a linguistic analysis of Ted Kaczynski's writings that ultimately led to his arrest.
Vaccarello said that she wanted the exhibit to focus on the forensics that led to the capture and that she was most fascinated with the scale, which bears Kaczynski's writings.
The Unabomber exhibit will be part of the museum’s permanent collection.
David Goldman / AP
The hoodie and sunglasses used by Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, were displayed during an online auction to benefit the victims' families. The items include handwritten letters, typewriters, tools, clothing and several hundred books.