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Surrendered or lost items from Texas airports end up at surplus store in East Austin

Lose any of your items by TSA at the airport? You might find them for sale in this Austin surplus store.

Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff that passengers have to surrender or lose at airports?

In Texas, it goes to the State Surplus Store in East Austin.

The 50,000-square-foot facility sits just off Bolm Road near Highway 183. It's where bins and bins of contraband go to get sorted.

They are full of the usual suspects like tools, knives, brass knuckles ... and more knives.

After getting sorted, the items make their way to the showroom floor.

Kristy Fierro is the director of the State Surplus Store. She pointed out some of the things flyers have tried to take on planes in their carry-ons -- like a hacksaw.

"I don't know if you thought you were going to fix the plane," she asked rhetorically.

She also showed us an entire set of kitchen knives set in a wooden block someone tried to take on in their carry on bag.

Then there are the less obvious items, like a hand-held blender, which is illegal because of the blades, or fly zappers.

The bin full of clothes, hats and belts are items people likely forgot after TSA screenings. The same goes for jewelry and sunglasses.

Fierro said the three most popular items in the store are sunglasses, jewelry and knives.

"If you're coming here to shop for yourself for a knife, you can buy your wife/girlfriend a nice piece of jewelry and then you don't get in trouble for buying the knives," said Fierro.

First-time visitor Eric Benton didn't buy a knife.

"We got a baby carrier, a really nice ergo baby carrier," said Benton.

But he may next time.

"It's awesome. I wish I had more time to take it in. I didn't expect it to be so much stuff," Benton said.

Right now, the State Surplus Store makes $30,000 a month from all this stuff. The money is used to operate the store. Any extra goes to the state.

The only thing not for sale? A bottle with a snake inside. Specifically, a cobra holding a scorpion in its mouth. The snake that never made it on the plane.

"It's become a mascot around here," said Kevin, one of the workers at the store.

The State Surplus Store also carries furniture and vehicles.

It is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 pm.

More information can be found at its website here.

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