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TSA's strange finds

TSA agent at Pittsburgh International Airport.

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TSA's strange finds

Novelty and inert bombs, loaded guns, daggers and all manner of "artfully concealed" items that somehow could be used as weapons are among the objects TSA officers regularly find in carry-on bags belonging to some of the more than 1.8 million passenger screened at U.S. airports each day.

"The vast majority of travelers that are bringing the stuff are not frequent flyers but people that might fly once a year at best. Either they just never understood the rules or thought the rules did not apply to those items," said aviation security expert Jeff Price of Leading Edge Strategies.

Others know exactly what they're carrying and try to conceal prohibited items inside suitcase linings, belt buckles and shoes.

"What they don't know is how amazingly easy a lot of that is to spot in the standard old-school X-ray machine, much less the newer advanced X-ray technologies," said Price. "In most cases these people aren't terrorists or people with ill intent. I think they're just people trying to slip one through the system."

Packed with ill-intention or not, these items don't fly. So where do these items end up?

According to the TSA, a lot of them are put into checked luggage or given to a nonflying family member to take home. Law enforcement officials at many airports decide what to do with the truly illegal items, but a lot of items flagged as prohibited end up as what the TSA terms "voluntary abandoned property"—and most of that ends up as excess government property that is eventually auctioned off or destroyed.

But before anything leaves the airport, the more unusual items get photographed and posted in the TSA blog's weekly roundup of airport finds. Here are some examples of the featured items found so far this year.

—By Harriet Baskas, Special to Follow her on Twitter at @hbaskas .

Posted on 2 Dec. 2013

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