Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Surrendering" your belongings

My husband had a round-trip flight recently. In his backpack, along with his laptop, he accidentally left a Leatherman. This had been a gift and was personalized with his full name. He believed that he had it in his car, and when it went through security on the first leg of his trip without tripping an alarm, he was none the wiser. He stayed for a week in the Philadelphia area, and still did not notice this knife and tool combo in his bag.

Of course, as luck would have it, his Leatherman was discovered by the TSA at the Philadelphia airport on his return trip. It was confiscated, but in TSA speak: "surrendered." It sounds more voluntary and less totalitarian that way.

After he got home with no further incidents (I guess he is just an innocent citizen and not a threat to national security, after all), he called the TSA to find out how he could receive his property. It does have his name on it (and a somewhat unique name at that as out last name is not very common) so it should be easy to track down. He was told that he had "surrendered" it and that it was now the property of the TSA.

For the sake of the person who gave my husband the Leatherman, I want to assure everyone that my husband liked it very much and did not re-gift it to the TSA, despite what the TSA says.

Back to his conversation with the TSA: My husband asked what had happened to his property and was told by the person he was speaking to (if automatons can be called people) that they "did not have the authority" to tell him where it was. Apparently, my husband's coerced gift to the feds is now a state secret (now do you see why they should free Bradley Manning?).

Googling the subject later, my husband suspects that the property is turned over to the city of Philadelphia and, if valuable,  auctioned. I told him he ought to call Philly PD and report his Leatherman stolen, last seen at the airport.