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Art Buyer Plans to Burn Gacy Paintings

May 14, 1994

CHICAGO (AP) _ A businessman spent about $20,000 to buy up most of executed serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s artworks, and he plans to get a return on his investment by burning them.

″We want them wiped off the map,″ said Joe Roth, who bought more than two-dozen of the 40 Gacy works for sale at Saturday’s auction. ″It’s too bad we couldn’t have wiped them all off the map.″

The auctioneer James Quick said he didn’t immediately know exactly how many paintings Roth bought.

Roth, owner of a truck parts business, said he wants to make a point by burning the paintings created by the man convicted in 1980 of killing 33 boys and young men during the 1970s.

Gacy was executed Tuesday.

Saturday’s affair attracted about 200 potential buyers, and some pieces sold for as high as $800, Quick said.

Roth, 50, said he was fed up with media coverage of the execution because it didn’t send strong enough messages to parents.

″We’re going to burn all the pictures and try to get the attention of parents to watch their kids so this never happens again,″ Roth said. ″Young people have to be watched - so there’s never another Gacy.″

Roth did not have a date for the burning, but promised it would be within 30 days.

Saturday’s auction included some of Gacy’s most famous renditions - Elvis Presley, Jesus, Mickey Mouse and clowns named Pogo, Patches, Skull and Death.

The auctioneer said he sold the paintings for owners who, for various reasons, decided to get rid of them. ″They kept them as a novelty, and then got tired of it and wanted it out of their house,″ Quick said.

Part of the auction’s proceeds will go to the former owners and the rest will go to victims’ families, Quick said.

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