ORLANDO, Fla. (TNS) - Bogus bidders apparently took over George Zimmerman’s third attempt at auctioning the gun used to kill Trayvon Martin, but that might not have hindered him from finding a real buyer.
The auction, on UnitedGunGroup.com, ended Wednesday with a final bid of $138,900 made one minute before closing by a user named “John Smith.”
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A person identifying as Smith told the Orlando Sentinel that his bid wasn’t serious. He said he wrote a computer program to bid automatically for him and that United Gun Group eventually noticed and deleted his account.
It’s unclear if a sale has been finalized.
Shortly after the auction ended, Zimmerman released a statement saying “the process of notifying the winning bidder will begin immediately.”
He didn’t release the winner’s name or give a sale price.
United Gun Group also posted on social media after the auction saying Zimmerman is “vetting several offers and verifying funds.”
Another person, who bid numerous times and commented on the post appearing to be seriously interested in the gun, sent a message to the Sentinel just minutes before the auction ended saying his bids were actually bogus, too.
He said he had “no plans on owning this firearm.”
“The trolls bidding me up didn’t upset me at all, mainly because myself and fellow trolls are the only people that bid on this,” the person wrote.
The auction went live at 9 a.m. Tuesday with a starting bid of $100,000 or a “buy it now” price of $500,000.
Several people bid on the gun, each time raising the price by $100. It’s unclear if any were serious buyers.
Before the auction closed, Todd Underwood, who runs the site, commented that despite internet trolls driving up the price, the auction might have helped Zimmerman find a real buyer.
“Regardless, (Zimmerman) has been contacted by several real bidders with verified funds,” Underwood wrote.
Zimmerman has been trying to sell the Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol since last week, when he listed it on the website, GunBroker.com.
That sale, with a starting bid of $5,000, was supposed to start last Thursday morning, but after an overwhelming amount of attention, the company pulled the listing just minutes before it began.
Several hours later, Zimmerman confirmed that he had re-listed the pistol with United Gun Group.
He voluntarily pulled that listing Saturday, though, after bogus bidders drove up the price to more than $66 million.
Zimmerman then made the latest listing with the higher starting bid and more monitoring.
United Gun Group said Wednesday afternoon that there were actually two auctions running simultaneously — one for the public and another for “prequalified bidders.” Results or details of a nonpublic auction haven’t been released.
In his statement, Zimmerman thanked the company for hosting his auction, saying the auction “has raised funds for several worthy causes.”
“I would also like to thank all members of United Gun Group for their support and words of encouragement,” Zimmerman wrote.
Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013 of killing Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old. He said he was defending himself when he shot the teen during a struggle in 2012 in a Sanford neighborhood.
The auction listing described the gun as a piece of “American history” and includes photos from his 2013 second-degree murder trial.