LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents screen passengers at Los Angeles International Airport on May 2, 2011.
Ever wonder what happens to items left behind at TSA checkpoints at airports? They end up being state moneymakers.
Those items can be anything from a snow globe, to a Swiss Army knife, or even a torch lighter.
In California, items left at LAX, SFO and Burbank are given to federal agents, who then turn it over to the state. Once there, the state sells the items at an auction in Sacramento. The money raised is then added to the state’s revenue.
In the last two auctions, California made $14,870 off the items, according to spokesperson for California Department of General Services Michael Liang.
DGS retrieves the items, sorts them out and packages them in lots for auction. That particular department handles the surplus inventory in the state, which is why it handles some of the leftover items at airports.
“Every few months we drive down to the airports and get the stuff,” he said. “It’s a lot of belts, believe it or not.”
People sometimes leave items behind without going back to check them into baggage because they need to make a flight, according to TSA spokesperson Greg Soule.
“For items that are not dangerous or illegal we typically work with state surplus agencies to donate those items, which can be sold for revenue for the states,” he said.
Not all airports in California give the items to the state to sell. Individual airports decide what to do with the surrendered TSA items, and it varies from place to place.