SAN JOSE, Calif. (Feb. 2) - EBay deleted several items billed as debris from the space shuttle Columbia from the online auction site Saturday, warning that anyone attempting to sell fragments from the doomed shuttle could be prosecuted.
EBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said customer service representatives received a handful of listings throughout the day from people purporting to have found debris in Texas.
The listings were immediately yanked from the site, and executives may report the sellers to federal authorities.
Taking a part of an aircraft involved in an accident is a federal offense, U.S. attorneys in Texas warned, and a conviction could result in up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Debris from the space shuttle was spread over a large swath Texas and Louisiana and residents reported finding chunks of it.
It's unclear what kind of debris was listed on eBay, but Pursglove said that many of the items were likely pranks.
The San Jose-based company has become a barometer of pop culture and current events, with listings such as World Series paraphernalia surging during the baseball championships. But eBay must also deal with morbid postings and attempts to capitalize on human tragedy, and it frequently pulls items.
''Over the years we have learned to keep an eye out for individuals who might want to list items once a tragic event has occurred, the best example being pieces of the World Trade Center and Pentagon,'' Pursglove said, referring to the targets of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
EBay recorded a small increase Saturday in the number of listings for Columbia memorabilia, including coins, mission patches and even one listing for the official vertical stabilizers used in earlier voyages. Collectibles related to NASA's space program are perennially popular, Pursglove said.
but i totally forgot, its groundhog day. so are we gonna have more winter or what? not like it matters here though =) *breaks out the tanning lotion*