Items left at CVG airport security mean big bucks for Kentucky

(FOX19) - Flying is nothing new, but every year, some passengers still have issues with what they can't pack in their carry-on bags.

Paul Wisniewski, TSA Federal Security Director for the Cincinnati/No. Kentucky International Airport, said anything that could be used to take over or destroy an airport or an airplane can't go through the security checkpoint. Wisniewski said passengers still surprise him with what they try to bring in their bags.

"Well, the surprises are things like these very large knives," said Wisniewski. "That's what you would think would be obvious to anybody that since 9/11 where box cutters were a problem."

Other not-so-obvious problems? Small bats.

"Unfortunately, it's a club," said Wisniewski.

Which means it is also considered a possible weapon; just like one surrendered tube of lipstick. There's a blade under the cap.

Items such as tools, Martial Arts throwing stars, toy grenades, and grill sets are also not allowed in your carry-on bags. Those are just a few of the more than 1,500 pounds of items surrendered every year at CVG.

Wisniewski said he believes most travelers sincerely forget the items are in their bags.

"We are primarily a business airport where most of the people are frequent fliers," said Wisniewski. "During the holiday season, you'll see an up tick because you'll have people that don't fly very often, and aren't fully aware of some of the rules."

Another rule? Besides firearms, nothing is ever confiscated. You have three options if you bring a prohibited item to the airport: 1, If you've parked your vehicle in a nearby lot, you can take it back to your car; 2) Give it to someone who's dropping you off; or 3) Surrender your item to the TSA.

The abandoned items are then packed up and picked up by the Division of Surplus Property and brought to a warehouse in Frankfort, KY. Every few months, crews pick up 150 packed plastic bins from each airport they service.

"We pick up from eight airports," said Sam Ruth, Commissioner of Facilities with the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet. "Four in Florida. Two in Ohio, and two here in Kentucky."

Thousands of lighters, souvenir bats, wine openers, tools, and belts end up at the facility. Everything except switchblades, mace, and brass knuckles is sold.

"Some of the items we sell on eBay," said Ruth. "Some of the not so nice items we sell in spot bid sales here in this building."

No word on exactly how much this all brings in to the state, but we're told it's enough to fund this entire operation, from staff to utility costs, with some extra, of course.

However, if you'd rather not search eBay or drive out to Frankfort to look for your surrendered items, TSA agents say make sure you check your bags before you check-in.

But get this-- you can fly with a firearm if it's placed in your checked luggage and your register it when you check-in. Wisniewski said nationwide more passengers have chosen to check guns in their luggage. He's not sure why, but said that recently he's seen the numbers just about double across the country-- from two guns a day to three or four at various airports. He said he hasn't seen an increase at CVG. Guns are not picked up by Kentucky crews. The TSA disposes of the firearms.

To find out more about how you can buy some of those surrendered items, log on to or go to eBay and search for the seller "KYSurplus."

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