SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – So far this year, about 20,000 items have been left accidentally at security checkpoints at San Francisco International Airport, scooped by the Transportation Security Administration which must figure out to how to return them to the rightful owners.
The row of white boxes displayed at SFO on Thursday was filled with everything from laptops, cell phones and ipads, to sunglasses, hats and passports.
“Each of these boxes represents one day of lost items at a security checkpoint,” said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.
“The most unusual thing that I have experienced in all the airports that I service is a pair of false teeth,” Melendez said, left behind at Los Angeles International Airport.
The TSA holds onto lost items for 30 days, then puts them up for sale. The money goes into a fund that pays out claims for other lost items, Melendez said.
The best way to avoid losing small items is to stow them in a carry-on, he said, or to affix a business card to electronic items such as cell phones and computers.
The items are barcoded and cataloged, so they can be matched to inquiries e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The TSA also has a website listing lost-and-found contacts at airports nationwide at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/airport-lost-and-found-contacts.