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Serial killer sells paintings on eBay

But can he keep the money?

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eBay is in the news again -- and for all the wrong reasons -- after it confirmed that etchings from a convicted serial killer were being offered for sale through the online auction house. Fifty-four-year-old Arthur Shawcross, who was convicted of murdering 11 women in Rochester, New York back in 1991, now faces a disciplinary hearing later this week to see whether he is in breach of prison rules about running a business from jail. Not only could he lose prisoners' privileges including his pens, pencils, paints and easel, he could even be transferred to another prison and face the prospect of a much tougher regime. According to the Nando Times, Shawcross has been sending drawings, oil paintings, portraits and autographs to dealers in return for sundry items such as clothes. In turn, some of these items have found their way onto eBay as part of a macabre auction of artwork. One of the items for sale was a signed poem called "Ostracized" and signed index cards for a "female serial killer groupie". Although eBay reported this latest incident to the authorities and closed down the sale as soon as it was discovered, there appears to be no end to the PR mishaps that has plagued the service. Most recently hoaxers have attempted to auction babies and kidneys. Last week Michael van Swaaij, European VP of eBay told The Register that eBay would not tolerate such behaviour and would prosecute anyone engaged in this type of activity. ®

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