What happens to your things when they end up in Reno-Tahoe Airport's lost-and-found

What happens to your things when they end up in Reno-Tahoe Airport's lost-and-found

Passengers lose or leave behind all kinds of things at the airport, some quite unusual and unexplained.

The Airport Authority that owns and operates the Reno-Tahoe International Airport says 50,000 passengers a day travel through the airport. Some of the things they leave behind include a lot of laptops, tablets and cell phones.

“When you lose something, especially a phone, you feel like you've lost everything because it's your whole life,” said Reno traveler Connie Parratt.

The Airport Authority has 10 storage units that contain things that passengers have left behind.

“I think that one of my favorite things is that there must be something with security checkpoint because we have walkers left behind, canes, crutches -- you must go through that and you're healed,” said Trish Tucker, Airport Authority Spokeswoman.

Staff have found lots of eye glasses. A car seat was left curbside last month. And someone left behind a beautiful guitar with no explanation.

Sometimes staff have a pretty good idea where the items came from. There’s currently several bikes in storage.

“My guess is that these probably came from burning man," Tucker said. "Anywhere August, September pretty good chance that it was Burning Man."

The Airport Authority says it’s not uncommon for people to leave baggage behind, sometimes full of clothing and other items.

A man accidentally left his marriage certificate. Someone else left a block of cheese and other people have left cash.

“There was a gentleman from Japan, He worked for Tesla for Japan. His uncle worked here for Tesla and he came out and there was about $1,500 of Japanese currency,” Tucker said.

The airport was able to return the money to that man. In fact, it does everything possible to return items.

“Our staff is a little Sherlock Holmes,” Said Tucker. “We had a laptop recently we had for about six months, our manager IT, our director there went through and was able to connect it to the person and send it off to them.”

The staff do their best to track down the owners, looking through documents and digging through phones and laptops, searching for the owner.

The airport holds items for at least 90 days then they’re destroyed, recycled and often donated. Glasses go to the Lions Club; the bikes to the Kiwanis Club.

“We've chosen the food bank of Northern Nevada, the Veterans [Guest] House to give things to, so some of the items go there; our partner in education Swope Middle School,” Tucker said.

But staff would rather return the items to their rightful owners.

“It gives great satisfaction to connect people because they are so grateful,” Tucker said.

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