From coats to cash, inside the TSA lost and found

Everything from coats to wads of cash are left behind at TSA checkpoints.

Lose something at Newark Liberty International Airport during your travels? You might want to head to Union,  New Jersey.

It's home to the lost and found operated by Newark Liberty International Airport's TSA. Just a 15-minute drive from the airport, the office holds every item left in a TSA bin over the past 30 days.

TSA delivers items daily to this office, amounting to more than 3,000 lost possessions since November, including nearly 300 laptops.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein suggested putting a business card on your laptop to make it easier to find.

"We can then call you," Farbstein said.

There are cellphones, keys and, this season, lots and lots of coats. But, the more interesting item of the day? Thousands and thousands of dollars in cash.

"This item just came back to our office over the last 45 minutes and there was some identification with it, so I was able to make some phone calls and we located the passenger," said TSA employee Ofelia Ruiz.

"Now we have to go through our security footage and he's going to send us a photo of himself. Once we have the photo, we'll go through CCTV security footage and make sure it matches his photo," she added.

If the items are unclaimed after 30 days, they're sent to Pennsylvania, where the state operates a sort of thrift shop out of Harrisburg. TSA says it doesn't make a profit from those sales, but the department does make a pretty penny from uncollected loose change: more than $600,000 in 2011.

"There are good endings every day here and that's something really great about working in this office. Happy endings every day," said Farbstein.

For more info visit TSA.gov.

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