Friday, February 24, 2012

TSA seized merchandise for sale at Pennsylvania's state surplus store

One person's loss could be your gain. Friday, CBS 21 got a tour of State Surplus Warehouse, where merchandise confiscated by the TSA is up for sale at discount prices.

Believe it or not, plenty of people still try to get on planes with all types of things that get confiscated by the TSA, like a drill that our photographer bought Friday. When this stuff gets confiscated from all around the country, much of it makes its way to PA for you to buy.

“It's very important to know what you are taking onto a plane before you get on, or else it winds up here,” commented Troy Thompson of the Department of General Services.

At the State Surplus Warehouse, you will find all sorts of things that people tried to take onto a plane and failed. There's power tools, utility knives, snow globes, sun glasses, scissors, wrenches and then there's even samurai swords, a giant spoon, ammunition and of course fuzzy handcuffs.

“We have things from Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware,” Thompson explained. “We have items from little regional airports as well.”

All but three states have a surplus program. But when the TSA confiscates materials at airport checkpoints, much of it comes to PA because we have one of the largest operations, and this site can handle the volume.

Amazingly, since 2004, the state has made $700,000 in revenue from this program, which goes into the general fund for the state to spend. The State Surplus Warehouse is open to the public Monday through Friday 9:00 to 2:45.

“It's not something that is brought onto a plane for the most part with malicious intent,” Thompson addressed. “When you're dealing with different cultures those things are more for decorations and not for use.”

Much of the stuff you saw in the story will soon be available online in bulk at better prices at That will be available in April. 

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