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Video: TSA's Top 10 Most Unusual Finds: 2017

Wednesday, January 03, 2018
TSA's Top 10 Most Unusual Finds: 2017

Our officers often discover unusual items in carry-on and checked bags. We’d like to share just a few of the more offbeat items with you in our Top Ten Most Unusual Finds of 2017!

10) Face Tenderizer (Carry-on Bag) - Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)

9) Aggressive Odor Eater (Checked Bag) – Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)

8) Pointy Fidget Spinner (Carry-on Bag) - Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV)

7) Grenade Art Thing #1 (Checked Bag) - Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)

6) Lonely Throwing Star (Carry-on Bag) – Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)

5) Scythe (Carry-on Bag) - John Wayne Airport Orange County (SNA)

4) Satan’s Pizza Cutter (Carry-on Bag) - Honolulu International Airport (HNL)

3) Bone Knife (Carry-on Bag) - Baltimore–Washington International Airport (BWI)

2) Replica Rifle Umbrella (Carry-on Item) - Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)

1) Festively Wrapped Narcotics (Checked Bag) - Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

***BONUS*** Grenade Art Thing #2 (Carry-on) - Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)

Did you see last year’s top 10? If not, you can find it here:

Bob Burns - TSA Social Media


Submitted by CliffG on

i love that bonus art, very creative. perhaps they should have incorporated some automation so the thing could walk around by itself (just for fun, of course.)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Top 2017 had "Face tenderizer" pray tell what is it. Search engines make it "meat" tenderizer. No one I have asked has a clue. Please elaborate!

Submitted by Laura Monteros on

Hey, Bob, it's nice to see your face! A scythe? Really? ;)

Submitted by Cheryl on

hysterical! sad, but hysterical! sorry TSA has to hunt for these stupid items... I called your office to see if I could carry on my digital meat thermometer and tubes of toothpaste. okay for meat thermometer if the shaft was under 4", no to the toothpaste - it was over the 3.4 oz limit, LOL. see y'all in April!

Submitted by West Cooper on

You can see a bit more on the face tenderizer in the following search. It is essentially brass knuckles (although, it seems to be made of aluminum more than brass...), with a tenderizer plate attached to them.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Wayne Hynes on

The Bob Burns blog is great fun, I love it!

Submitted by Anonymous on

And no one at TSA thought it was highly unusual for a TSA screener to pack a handgun for lunch?

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

Interesting collection of finds.


Since the only arrest record I can find to match any of these seems to apply to the narcotics find (which is outside of your scope of search, by the way) it would seem that none of these things were an attempt at any level of terrorism. And none of these items are dangerous to an aircraft and post little risk to crew and passengers so the whole thing seems like much ado about nothing.

Submitted by Randy Davis on

Bob I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy the blog that you as well as TSA put out on a weekly basis.
It is always nice to put a face to a name, I appreciate that also, keep up the great work that you as well as all TSA workers due as it is much appreciated. Thank you!

Submitted by John Boyle on

I don’t think that is the proper name for the found item. I do however know what you’re talking about. It is used in Dermatology offices and can be purchased online. It perforates the first layer of skin to induce softer skin once healed

Submitted by Anonymous on

To the person asking about "Face Tenderizer"...I believe that is "Brass Knuckles" laugh...

Submitted by Lisa on

I believe that may be "Brass Knuckles"..laugh

Submitted by Nicodemus on

I wonder want items actually made it through I’m sure the can’t catch everything

Submitted by Anonymous on

In testing by DHS over recent years TSA screeners missed 70 to 95% of target test items.

Feeling safe now?

The question that should be asked is how can a TSA screener miss a handgun? Perhaps because TSA screeners are looking for things like water and drugs. Items which pose no threat to the operation of an airplane.

Submitted by Hermann Fegelein on

19 items that are actually dangerous make it through for every one item that they catch. They do manage to catch most water bottles, cupcakes, and IDs that they aren't familiar with and are too lazy to look up.

Submitted by Jconlon on

i agree with the comment on found-art. good ol' milwaukee . . . i miss you!

Submitted by Eric Connine on

"Festively" wrapped narcotics? LOL... DO TELL! (seriously, what kind of idiot would even attempt?)

Submitted by West Cooper on

Eric, you would be surprised!

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Milton on

Are people just trying to get attention?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Remember folks, this is your tax dollars at work! Looks like ol' Bob decided to stop trying to answer actual questions and is content to post puff pieces and weekly reviews until he's ready to start pulling down his government pension.

Submitted by DONNA on


Submitted by Zuzubird on

If you read elsewhere on the site, you'll see that TSA officers around the country catch 70 - 80 guns in carry-ons every week--many of them loaded, some with chambered rounds. Would you want to deal with that?

Relax. Grow up. Go sniff some roses.

Submitted by Zuzubird on

I second that. Totally fun and illuminating!

Submitted by Raymondsat on


Submitted by GeraldTar on

Hello. And Bye.

Submitted by Randynow on

Hello! I am glad to join you.

Submitted by Darrenonest on

Hello! I am glad to join you.