NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - If you've been through security at Armstrong International Airport recently and are missing your sunglasses or laptop or jewelry, it's probably worth checking in with the Transportation Security Administration.
The lost and found and seized bins are full of items left behind by rushed and frazzled passengers. Laptop computers, eyeglasses, countless cell phones, flash drives and medicine are just some of the items in the lost and found room at Armstrong International.
"If you came to the security checkpoint with those items, sometimes it's hard to believe you left the checkpoint without those items, because some of them are pretty critical," says TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz.
They're among the 3,600 items either accidentally left behind by passengers or seized by TSA agents at the airport over the past six months.
The items seized include a hand grenade, bb guns, ammunition, knives of all shapes and sizes and even a chain for a chainsaw.
TSA officials showed off the items because they've seen a spike this week.
"This week compared to most is a little bit crazier because of the high volume of passengers going back home after Mardi Gras," Koshetz says. "So we have more prohibited items going through the checkpoints and more items being forgotten at the checkpoints."
But who forgets a set of speakers or their luggage? Officials pointed to one iPad with a baby's picture as the screen saver.
"It's quite sad because you can assume there are lot of pictures on this item. We really want the person to get this item back," Koshetz says.
Sadly, even though agents tag each item, hoping to reunite them with their rightful owners, that only happens about ten percent of the time.
The agency's biggest message is this: "Pay attention to what's in your bag, really pay attention. Unpack before you pack," says Koshetz. "Start from scratch, clean it out, look in the linings and start over."
And don't blame TSA if you lose something important while rushing through the security checkpoint to catch a plane.
The TSA does not hold the items forever. Laptops are eventually scrubbed of their data and sold. Less expensive items are donated.
To inquire about an item, contact the TSA Support Operations Center at Armstrong International by calling (504) 463-2252.