Baggage is over 50 pounds. Security is taking forever. Plane leaves in five minutes. All of these factors contribute to the massive amount of lost items at Charleston International Airport. How the airport handles this variety of items is another story altogether. The found properties storage room is located in a restricted area accessed by the tarmac. Here items are logged, tagged, and bagged, with the singular intent of getting items returned to their owners. Items have been shipped as far as Japan in their route home to their owner. The majority of the items found include cell phones, laptop computers, jackets, and wallets — though the officers occasionally see the random vacuum cleaner, stock pot, tennis racquet, and golf clubs.
Items that are unable to be returned to their owners are donated every 90 days to the Salvation Army. — Jonathan Boncek
Imagine Lisa Williams’ surprise when she found a $50 bill pressed between the pages of a book someone returned to the library. After 18-and-a-half years working at the downtown branch of the Charleston County Public Library, Williams has seen people leave plenty of off-the-wall items behind — dentures, crutches, hundreds of driver’s licenses — but this was a first.
As the information desk supervisor, Williams gets an up-close view of folks’ forgotten possessions. The library holds on to most items for about a month, giving people a chance to claim them. Unclaimed reading glasses go to a charity for needy children, and usable clothes go to Crisis Ministries to help the homeless.
Beverly McArthur, a security officer at the library, laughs as she recalls some of the things she’s seen pass through the lost and found: Bibles, an ironing board, baby jackets. “I haven’t found a $100 bill or a lottery ticket,” McArthur says. “Maybe one day an oyster with a pearl in it will show up.”
As for the $50 bill, which a library patron had apparently been using as a bookmark, Williams called the owner using contact information in the library’s database, but to her amazement, the bookmarker never showed up to claim her cash. She’d seen other people do the same with paychecks, but they always came to pick those up in a hurry. —Paul Bowers