PBIA has a secure lost and found and aims to reunite items with their owners, but after 30 days, anything that’s not books or blankets or other items that can be donated to local organizations, get sold at the Palm Beach County surplus store.
For many passengers like George Dalecki, time feels like it moves faster at the airport. “You get so preoccupied with where you’re going and getting there on time, all the commotion,” said Dalecki.
It’s easy to lose sight of what you came with. “I left a suitcase on an escalator while I tried to fasten my belt and it went down the whole length of the escalator tumbling down,” said Dalecki. Luckily George didn’t lose his suitcase, but by the time you realize you lost something you might already be on the plane.
“A lot of electronics, a lot of jewelry, a lot of jackets get left behind at those TSA checkpoints,” said Lacy Larson, marketing director for the Palm Beach International Airport.
Larson said in the last six months 485 electronics, 128 pieces of jewelry, close to 800 articles of clothing and over 150 roller board bags all ended up in the airport’s lost and found.
Usually, that’s not the first place passengers think to check.
“I wouldn’t know where to begin to track things down. I would give up hope instantly,” said Dalecki.
If the rightful owner fails to find his or her way back to the lost item, it’s sold in the Palm Beach County surplus store after 30 days.
Items that have ended up in the surplus store from the airport include a women’s Rolex valued at $2,555, cellphones, laptops, and jewelry. All of the money from the sales goes to the county’s general fund.
“We recommend that you write your name and everything whether it’s on a luggage tag or on the item itself,” said Larson.
Larson said the security office reviews every claim filed in the lost and found section of the airport’s website and works hard to reunite these items with the owner.
Any unclaimed books are donated to the Palm Beach County Library system, blankets go to Animal Care and Control and the airport is working on forming a partnership with the homeless coalition to donate other items.