Negative responses are pouring in to a Las Vegas memorabilia business for auctioning off items claimed to be from late actor Paul Walker’s fiery crash that killed him and a friend last year.
Walker and friend Roger Rodas were traveling around 100 miles per hour in a high-performance Porsche on Nov. 30 when driver Rodas lost control of the vehicle and smashed into a light pole and tree. Both men died at the scene north of Los Angeles.
Items being auctioned off by BidAMI.com include a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses believed to be worn by Walker when he died and debris from the wreck.
By Friday afternoon, the auction had a high bid of $2,784.00. The auction is set to end on Thursday, March 27.
A veteran acquisition specialist who works for the business and goes by the name Kieta said the items came to her in early March. She concluded the items’ authenticity by examining photos from the day of the wreck and comparing them to the items and story presented to her.
“First, you kind of verify the story,” she said. “There’s actually dirt and some other staining on the glass that seem to be consistent with the crash.”
A fire extinguisher supposedly used in putting out the fire is also included in the auction.
“Several fire extinguishers were put into service from local businesses,” according to the auction listing. The extinguisher may not have been used in actually fighting the fire, Kieta said.
How the seller came in possession of the items wasn’t completely clear, but Kieta believes he may have attended a charity event that Walker was at on the day of the crash.
A portion of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Saving America’s Mustangs, a charity working to create a preserve for endangered wild horses in the United States. Kieta said she chose the charity because she loves horses.
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Kieta said a donation to Walker's charity, Reach Out Worldwide may also be made.
"That is not out of the question," she said. “For any family it was very tragic, so to do something good with that is all that anyone can hope for."
A poll asking users if they agree with the items being auctioned off was receiving overwhelmingly negative responses as of 10 a.m. on Friday. More than 80 percent of pollers had voted no, with only 7 percent of users voting yes.
“You definitely want people to participate and share their comments and feelings,” Kieta said. Some users also took to the comments to voice their disapproval.
“Absolutely disgusting. You people should be ashamed of yourselves,” commenter Marianne wrote. “I don’t care WHAT you intended to use the money for.”
Another commenter accused the man of being an opportunist in the violent deaths of Rodas and Walker.
"This is one the most despicable, disgusting, and disrespectful events I've ever witnessed. Two men are dead, their families are still grieving, and some lowlife bottom feeder is making money because he was 'lucky' enough to be there to cannibalize the scene of Paul Walker's and Roger Rodas' deaths," they wrote.
Kieta said the seller reached out to Walker’s family before the auction, but he has wished to remain anonymous since putting up the items.
“His first words were, ‘I really want to do something good with this,’” Kieta said. “That’s what got me interested.”