The TSA doesn't just throw out the items confiscated at security checkpoints. Some are donated to non-profit organizations, most metal is recycled as scrap, and alcohol used to be binned. Well, until the cleaners started turning up drunk at the job, when they had to start disposing of the liquid gold more properly...
However, much of the
loot confiscated items are actually sold online by the individual states via TSA auctions.
Buying the confiscated goods either from the TSA or individual states is done in auctions 90% of the time. Some confiscated items are put up directly for sale though, and you can find it on the websites for direct purchase. The state surplus auctions are held regularly, and if you're planning to show up for it, it's definitely best to check if you have to register beforehand. Several states require this.
Most states combine auctions for TSA confiscated goods, state surplus, and goods confiscated by law enforcement, which means not only can you get cheap Leathermans, but you may also be able to pick up a car.
Where to buy TSA confiscated items for sale:
You can also look at the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property website or this list of sites. For Federal Surplus sales, see GovSales.
You never know, they might have the perfect item for your holiday travel shopping!
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