Have you ever gone through security at an airport and been told you were not allowed to bring something on board? Have you wondered what happened to that item and the millions of items the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, confiscates? You might be surprised.
The items are closer to home than you think. TSA confiscated items from more than 20 airports are shipped to Harrisburg by the ton! You can buy them for a fraction of the retail price!
Every day, people go through security at the Wilkes Barre/Scranton International Airport. TSA said all across the country, thousands of people try to bring prohibited items onto airplanes every day: knives, toy guns, cork screws, power tools, even snow globes!
"You see a number of items that you wouldn't even imagine trying to be taken on to an airplane. You kind-of wonder what the background of some of these items are and what people were thinking," said Troy Thompson of the PA Department of General Services.
So what happens to all of those confiscated items? They are shipped to Harrisburg by the ton!
"We have a federal surplus property program that can handle the volume of items that come in. We're able to sell it for a profit," said Thompson.
Troy Thompson is with the Pennsylvania Department of General Services. He said since 2004, TSA confiscated items are shipped to the state capital four times a year, from more than 20 different airports.
"New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio as well as Pennsylvania," said Thompson.
All of the items are shipped in bins. It's all things people tried to bring with them through security, like scissors, knives, tools, even a kitchen faucet. After this they're sorted and put out for sale.
"We check for broken items. We make sure they're safe to sell and that they're able to be sold," said Thompson.
The items are sold at the Bureau of Supplies and Surplus Operations in Harrisburg. The profits go to Pennsylvania's General Operations Fund. So far the TSA items have earned the state more than $800,000. Thompson said you can get almost anything for a fraction of the retail price.
"We have hand tools that we sell for like a buck a piece in a bin. It's pick and pay. It's a very popular item here at the distribution center," said Thompson.
The store is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Some people come almost every week.
"For $3 this is a very good piece of wine opener. The store offers good pricing," said Frank Miranda.
"Some of us who fall below a certain income level are able to get some of the things we really need at an affordable price," said Charles Nyambi.
If you don't have time to go to Harrisburg, you can also buy the items in bulk online. New items are posted each week. Click here to take a look.
TSA recommends checking their website before you go through airport security to find out what you can and cannot take on an airplane.