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Monday
Aug152011

Show Me the Money! Cash In on Items Forgotten, Confiscated at Airports

Medioimages/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- It's a scene played out at airports across the country each day, the piece of luggage circling around and around the carousel, forgotten or left behind by a harried traveler.

And, with airport security at an all-time high, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials gather mounds and mounds of confiscated items each year, from lotions and perfumes to knives, bats and more.

So what happens to the contents of that suitcase left behind? Just who profits from the more than seven million items left behind at airports across the country each year?

The answer, it turns out, could be you!

ABC’s Good Morning America discovered the millions of dollars worth of merchandise left behind at airports each year is available to the public, at a huge discount.

Items left behind at airports are delivered to local surplus stores, where everyday Americans can buy them for a huge discount, often as much as 70 percent. Some states also post the deals online, meaning you don't even have to leave your home to rake in the savings.

A GMA tour of a surplus store in Texas, for example, found designer sunglasses that regularly sell for $300 on sale for $50. And a set a Tiffany's earrings that would retail for around $4,500 were on sale for around $750.

The deal-making is a win-win situation for states too: the money made in Pennsylvania surplus stores and online goes right back to the state.

"Since 2004, when we began participating in the program, we have brought over $700,000 back into the state," Troy Thompson of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, told ABC News.

How can you cash in? Visit these sites to see where you can buy TSA-confiscated items in your state:

Budget Travel

Eyeflare Travel Info

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ABC News Radio