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TSA reveals items in lost and found along with new electronic security procedure

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KENNER, LA (WVUE) -

Armstrong International Airport has an extensive lost and found collection of items left behind. They range from sunglasses and strollers to weapons.

"Following Mardi Gras, a lot of people that are leaving the city, they're all excited, they leave items at the checkpoints," TSA Spokesperson Sari Koshetz said.    

They leave behind important things like prescription glasses and keys.

"Sometimes you wonder how it is possible that anybody could walk away and not have their cell phone with them or their computer with them, but it happens every day," Koshetz said.

The Transportation Security Administration said last year, of the 12,552 abandoned belongings, they found 9,972 of the owners.

"You see some iPads on the table over there. However, that's just from the last few weeks. Very recently, we sent to Washington 361 iPads that were not claimed at this checkpoint," Koshetz said.

With an increase in passengers in recent years comes a heightened concern for security.

"Literally tons of items a year are stopped at the checkpoints. These are items you do not want the passenger sitting next to you to have in their possession," said Koshetz. "When someone brings something like this to the checkpoint, we consider this a bludgeon, and they would have the opportunity to go back to their car if they're local, or go to the airline counter and check the bag."

Some weapons may not be as obvious.

"We know across the world, terrorists are now trying to hide enough explosives in small electronic devices. So that's why we're rolling out across the country new procedures, including here," Koshetz said.

Electronics larger than a phone need to be taken out of bags and placed side-by-side in a separate bin.

"If you're in the TSA Precheck program, you can leave those items in your suitcase. However, any passenger, including TSA Precheck passengers, may be asked to take an electronic device out," Koshetz said.

New Orleans also ranks in the top 20 airports for the number of guns stopped at checkpoints. They found 56 last year, and seven so far this year.

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