NewsRegionAnne Arundel County


Bowling pins, bike locks, replica guns: The banned items stored at the BWI Airport TSA warehouse

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 13:19:41-05

It's a depository of banned goods.

“That would shut down the checkpoint until it's cleared,” said Mike Duckett while holding an inert grenade. Duckett is the logistics manager for BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

From the seemingly harmful items to ones you would never think are taboo, the items are removed from the TSA checkpoints and shuttled to a warehouse a few blocks down the road.

“That would be a bludgeoning instrument, no tools over 7 inches,” said TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein while displaying a meat tenderizer.

TSA at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport collects around 400 pounds of prohibited items each month. Most are from well-meaning citizens who just forgot, others are more questionable.

“We have a cane here, which has a sword in it, a knife. This was caught on x-ray. We have another one here, it's got a knife inside it also,” said Duckett.

Knives of any kind are not allowed in your carry-on bag.

If you're caught with one, you are given options. You can run it to the car, put it in your checked luggage, or mail it back to yourself.

However, guns are a different story. It is illegal to bring one to a TSA checkpoint meaning you will be arrested and potentially fined. Even replica guns are prohibited.

“This replica pistol, which looks like a real pistol, was taken from a 9-year-old kid at one of our checkpoints,” Duckett said.

Farbstein has been trying to get the message out, but the number of prohibited items are not going down.

“People aren't thinking about it. I think the further away we get from 9/11, the less it becomes something in someone’s conscience,” said Farbstein.

She reminds everyone to check your bag then check it again.

From bowling pins to decorative knives, put it in your checked baggage or be ready to part with your item.
“We don't want it. Take it in your checked bag and take it with you,” Duckett said.

TSA at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport also collects anywhere from 1,500 to 2,100 pounds of oversized liquids, gels, and aerosols every 5 weeks. They are picked up by hazardous waste removal crews then disposed off.

Other prohibited items are shipped off to Virginia where they're later sold.

If you have a question about what you can and can't bring, you can download the MyTSA app and search for the item under "what can I bring" or tweet a picture of it to @AskTSA and they'll tweet the answer back to you.