3 On Your Side: TSA Items Up For Grabs

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Who isn’t looking for a good deal these days, or maybe a way to make a little extra money? Well, Pennsylvania is putting both at your fingertips.

The signs are there, the instructions clear, yet every day in airports all over the country, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) winds up with items prohibited on planes and that travelers don’t have the time to bring back to their cars. Troy Thompson, of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, says, “We have knives that people try to take on to planes, and they wind up with us.”

If it’s confiscated or forgotten at an airport screening area in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, or Ohio, it winds up at a state surplus building in Harrisburg and put up for sale. According to Thompson, “I wouldn’t even say this is a fraction of one percent of the items that we have.”

And though traveling to Harrisburg may be a stretch from our area, Thompson says, “They can actually buy these deals online at www.govdeals.com.”

The items available are constantly changing. “We put up 10 listings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday; the bids last for seven days,” Thompson explains.

It’s so much stuff that the state sells almost everything in bulk, so you could buy a bunch and resell them to make a profit. There are batches of black watches, silver tone watches, watches with brown bands, five pounds of jewelry, 12 pounds of assorted men’s and women’s belts. Swiss Army knives—which sell in stores for $20 dollars and up each–are available in lots of 20, starting as low as $15. There are thousands of items, and everything sells way under retail.

You may be wondering where the money from the sale of these items goes. Well, the TSA can’t profit from items confiscated or abandoned at their screening stations, so they contract with Pennsylvania to take the stuff off of their hands.

The Harrisburg Surplus Distribution Center is located at:

2221 Forster Street
Harrisburg, PA 17105
717-787-6078
Hours of operation:
Monday thru Friday
9:00 am thru 2:45 pm
(excluding state holidays)

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