Keys to Iowa maximum-security prison sold on eBay; belonged to retired locksmith

Thursday, May 3, 2007

ANAMOSA, Iowa -- A 135-year-old penitentiary changed some of its locks after keys to the maximum-security prison were apparently sold on eBay.

The keys belonged to a locksmith who retired from Anamosa State Penitentiary in 1974. He died two years later and when his wife died last year, an auctioneer was hired to sell off the estate, which included the keys.

Someone bought the keys and put them on eBay. Most appear to be antiques.

Jerry Burt, the prison's warden, said prison staff members told him about the keys after they attended the auction, not knowing the keys were there.

"I checked eBay and they were listed," Burt said. "We didn't know anything about the auction beforehand."

Burt said some locks at the eastern Iowa prison have been changed since 1974 while others haven't, prompting the recent change.

"We did it as a precaution," Burt said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: