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Miracles have been known to happen on Ebay. When it comes to finding a loving new home for outdated guide books, classic maps of the former Yugoslavia, or the stray Eiffel Tower dish towel, the site is heaven sent.
But when it comes to selling stolen art or relics of Jesus Christ, well, most faithful converts to the church of the online auction house have a sixth sense of what can be sold and what will land one in jail.
In 2007, for example, few online auctioneers would try to sell water out of the Pope’s hose.
Tell it to the judge. Three unidentified men armed with lemonade bottles tried to merge stolen art, Christ, and commerce. They hit up Pope Benedict’s garden hose in Bavaria for holy water with the intention of auctioning it off on Ebay. They were followed by a German journalist named Hubertus Wiendl, who videotaped the entire scene. Wiendl was fined €100 by local police after he filmed the heinous crime.
Jan Bockemuehl, Wiendl’s attorney, wanted to call in the Pope as a witness. His grounds for such a request? “I was sure the Pope wouldn’t have wanted my client to be punished.”