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Airport Surprise: 1,200 Laptops a Week Lost at LAX
LA Weekly ^ | Jul. 7 2009 | Steven Mikulan

Posted on 07/09/2009 5:35:50 AM PDT by raybbr

Last year Dell computers commissioned a study that found that 12,000 laptops are lost each

week at U.S. airports. Los Angeles leads the pack with 1,200 laptops reported lost or stolen at LAX weekly. Incredibly, most laptops are left behind at security checkpoints, with only 33 percent ever being recovered (17 percent before the flight, 16 percent after).

Now, part of our shock about these numbers comes from the absent-mindedness of travelers who lose sight of a valuable piece of luggage -- and one that they probably need to conduct their business or lives at the other end of their flights. But another thought comes to mind: Why don't the TSA screeners call after people who have left their notebook computers behind -- are they themselves too busy? do they assume such left luggage is dangerous and immediately dunk the laptops in a bucket of water?

Calls to LAX and Burbank Airport's TSA offices went unreturned by posting time, but Sandee McFarland, who works for a private company that manages Burbank's Bob Hope Airport, says screeners do attempt to page passengers who become separated from their belongings -- then lists the most-often lost items.

"We get belts," says McFarland who works in Bob Hope's lost and found department. "Everyone leave their belts, cell phones, clothing items, thumb drives, keys, watches. I've read about the laptops, but I don't get those -- TSA has them."

A newsletter for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory employees offers some advise for tech-lugging travelers. Besides geek-squad mantras to encrypt and back up data, the tips also include some very down-to-earth wisdom: Only take a laptop if it's really necessary to your trip and give yourself lots of time "to avoid mistakes made more likely by having to hurry. Airports are a physical and mental obstacle course."

One employee who works at a Southern California airport and who did not wish to be identified, confirmed how spaced-out flyers become -- especially those who show up half an hour before takeoff and think they can just walk straight on to the plane. This employee noted that TSA screeners will page travelers by name when their identities are known. Still, even here, the employee says, travelers will often later admit they heard their names on the public address system after leaving the security checkpoint -- but somehow didn't make the connection that they were being asked to recover lost items.

The Livermore Lab newsletter says the best way to ensure that lost laptop gets returned is to leave your name and phone number in its battery compartment -- an area not available to prying eyes, but one that screeners are trained to quickly access. Either that, or take the train.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet; Travel
KEYWORDS: airport; laptops; lax
Can this be possible?
1 posted on 07/09/2009 5:35:51 AM PDT by raybbr
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To: ShadowAce

Tech ping.

Does this sound possible?


2 posted on 07/09/2009 5:36:28 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

3 posted on 07/09/2009 5:38:12 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: raybbr
Headline is misleading. It should be 1,200 laptops lost each each at all US airports combined.

Not just at LAX.

4 posted on 07/09/2009 5:39:50 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce
Oops. I misread the article.

Never mind.

5 posted on 07/09/2009 5:40:25 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce
Headline is misleading. It should be 1,200 laptops lost each each at all US airports combined. Not just at LAX.

Nope. According to the study it's 12,000 per week nation wide.

6 posted on 07/09/2009 5:41:44 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: raybbr
12,000 laptops are lost each week at U.S. airports. Los Angeles leads the pack with 1,200 laptops reported lost or stolen at LAX weekly

Sounds fishy to me. Seems like these would have to resold somewhere. Reselling 12,000 laptops per week would have to raise some red flags.

7 posted on 07/09/2009 5:42:00 AM PDT by McGruff (Don't explain; your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you anyway)
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To: McGruff
Sounds fishy to me. Seems like these would have to resold somewhere. Reselling 12,000 laptops per week would have to raise some red flags.

It does say a third are recovered. I want to know what happens to the other two-thirds?

8 posted on 07/09/2009 5:43:42 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: raybbr

up puh..


9 posted on 07/09/2009 5:44:44 AM PDT by allmost
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To: raybbr

Sounds like I need to talk to the local TSA, and see what kind of “deal” I can get on a good used laptop. :)


10 posted on 07/09/2009 5:44:51 AM PDT by DYngbld (I have read the back of the Book and we WIN!!!!)
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To: raybbr
More TSA loot to sell on eBay - double handfuls of little Swiss Army Knives, etc, etc.

And the dreaded Assault Nail Clipper:


11 posted on 07/09/2009 5:45:24 AM PDT by Dumpster Baby (The chair is against the wall. John has a long mustache.)
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To: allmost

uh puh?


12 posted on 07/09/2009 5:45:47 AM PDT by allmost
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To: raybbr

there must be millions going through LAX every week. so this seems plausible.


13 posted on 07/09/2009 5:46:03 AM PDT by thefactor (yes, as a matter of fact, i DID only read the excerpt)
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To: raybbr
It's not even close to being possible. Dell got ripped off on their stupid little study.

That’d be about 40,000 abandoned lap tops a year at LAX. Where would they keep them all?

I work in a similar environment, albeit with about one tenth the traffic, and we see one or two a year.

14 posted on 07/09/2009 5:47:16 AM PDT by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: Dumpster Baby

Don’t leave home with it....\


15 posted on 07/09/2009 5:47:16 AM PDT by allmost
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To: raybbr
Sounds like TSA folks at LAX have become innured to the detached laptops and don't think a thing about them.

That's a serious security problem ~ eventually someone will bring one in there that's "Live" and leave it behind and no one will even suspect something is wrong until it goes off and levels the security point and several hundred passengers waiting in line.

16 posted on 07/09/2009 5:52:49 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: raybbr

Title says — Airport Surprise: 1,200 Laptops a Week Lost at LAX

Ummmm..., title of another article... “eBay Suprise: 1,200 Laptops a Week sold on eBay”... LOL...

eBay - criminal enterprise and scam center on the Internet... :-)


17 posted on 07/09/2009 5:54:04 AM PDT by Star Traveler (The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a Zionist and Jerusalem is the apple of His eye.)
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To: raybbr
Later next week, I will be in Artesia NM where they train TSA personnel. Will catch an instructor at Walmart or one the restaurants and ask them.
18 posted on 07/09/2009 5:55:15 AM PDT by razorback-bert (We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.)
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To: McGruff

‘would have to raise some red flags’

Yeah, like all the personal data floating around waiting for someone to abuse it. How many of the unrecovered have even a rudimentary password required for accessing the computer?


19 posted on 07/09/2009 6:16:31 AM PDT by castlebrew (Gun control means hitting where you're aiming!)
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To: raybbr
especially those who show up half an hour before takeoff and think they can just walk straight on to the plane.

Ahh, the good ol' days...

20 posted on 07/09/2009 6:22:24 AM PDT by shorty_harris
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To: castlebrew
We had one of our business laptops stolen not at an airport but a rental car someone didn't lock for about 5 mins while checking out. There was some important private software on there if you knew what you were looking for.

Our IT dept is in the process of installing whole hard encryption software on all our laptops. Cool. Now they will be even slower.

21 posted on 07/09/2009 6:30:53 AM PDT by McGruff (Don't explain; your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you anyway)
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To: raybbr

Whenever you put a laptop (or anything valuable) through the X-ray scanner you have to make it a point to have you eye on it as it enters the scanner and at the moment it emerges.Also be aware of people creating confusion/disruptions there.That’s how the thieves operate.


22 posted on 07/09/2009 6:44:14 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Christian+Veteran=Terrorist)
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To: Dumpster Baby
And the dreaded Assault Nail Clipper:

Last Fall I had a bottle of water...a clear,see-through bottle containing an equally clear fluid...taken from me by security at Hong Kong International Airport.I was *drinking* from it at the time.Amazing,IMO.

23 posted on 07/09/2009 6:48:56 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Christian+Veteran=Terrorist)
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: SycoDon
Because the people at the checkpoints are generally thugs and thiefs to begin with.I left a camera at the check point once. In the 5 minutes it took me to walk a few hundred yards and realize it, it was gone and they all claimed ignorance.

I think it's unlikely that TSA people,for the ,most part,are the ones stealing stuff (assuming that that's what you're implying).with all the cameras around security areas it would be too easy for the cops to get evidence on TSA agents.I think it's far more likely to be "civilian" thieves.

25 posted on 07/09/2009 7:12:19 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Christian+Veteran=Terrorist)
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To: shorty_harris
Ahh, the good ol' days...

In the old Ontario, CA back in the early 80's, before they built that new monstrosity, they had the road that ran in and out ran right in front of the terminal with a small parking lot on the other side (free parking too, I think), and I always carried everything on in those days. Well, one morning I was running late and worried I'd miss my flight, so I pull into the parking lot and find a good spot on the terminal side of the lot. I jump out, get my stuff out of the trunk, run across the road which luckily is empty, in the front door, to the left through the X-ray/metal detector, also empty, down the hall about 50', hand my ticket to the attendant, out the door/gate, up the stairs and into my plane, all without hardly breaking stride. Driver's seat to passenger seat in like three minutes.

26 posted on 07/09/2009 8:16:21 AM PDT by Still Thinking (If ignorance is bliss, liberals must be ecstatic!)
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To: McGruff
Our IT dept is in the process of installing whole hard encryption software on all our laptops. Cool. Now they will be even slower.

I am a contractor working on an Air Force base. You cannot imagine how frustrating and slow the government computer networks are. The man hours lost just waiting for the damn things to boot up would probably pay for an F-22. Just using Outlook everyday makes me want to smash my computer.

I wish some smart company (not Microsoft) would write an operating system for government computers that would eliminate worries about viruses, worms, spyware, hacking, etc.

27 posted on 07/09/2009 8:27:29 AM PDT by saminfl ( FUBO)
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To: saminfl
Just using Outlook everyday makes me want to smash my computer.

Add in Symantec Endpoint Protection virus scans twice a day and it's a good time to go for a walk until the scan is done.

28 posted on 07/09/2009 9:18:03 AM PDT by McGruff (Don't explain; your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you anyway)
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To: raybbr

I’ve done it twice. Seems like alot, but I travel over 100K miles per year. Here’s how it happens. I have a knee implant, so I have to get additional screening every time. When you do this, you can’t touch your luggage, the TSA grabs it all and carrying it to the additional screening site. You go through the drill and they finally turn you loose with your baggage. Both times it happened to me, the tray with my laptop was stacked underneath the one with the plastic bag, belt and other junk. In both cases, I was distracted when repacking all the gear and thought I had put the laptop back in the bag. Stupid happens.

In the first case, I left it in Baltimore and had a co-worker following me on a later flight. I called him when changing planes and he picked it up from TSA folks. They were very helpful. In the second case, I called the Kansas City Airport - they had it and put it in their property area and I picked it up on return. Again, very helpful and they were Contract security, not TSA (KC is one of the airports exempt from using TSA.)

I got lucky.


29 posted on 07/09/2009 4:46:22 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: Gay State Conservative

Good for them!

Many people wouldn’t stop to think that many drinkable clear liquids may be dangerous, or that drinking may be faked, or that a suicide bomber might not care if it weren’t a “drinkable” one.


30 posted on 07/10/2009 8:41:42 AM PDT by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: saminfl
You cannot imagine how frustrating and slow the government computer networks are.

Tell me about it. I have to use NMCI (Navy/Marine Corps Internet) or as well call it "Non-Mission Capable Internet."

31 posted on 07/10/2009 8:49:32 AM PDT by Drew68
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To: saminfl

The specs outlined by the military make the slowest outfits cost way more than comparable civilian ones. I used to work for a military contractor who made ruggedized computers as one business line. I needed a rugged field computer for my own work with a civilian client....I got a slow rig that was very pricey, because not only was it protected against rain and mud, but also Electromagnetic Pulse and shrapnel, and was able to plug into tanks from various countries, etc.


32 posted on 07/10/2009 8:51:00 AM PDT by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: Gondring

I am using a Dell desktop, not ruggedized, not anything, computer in my job. The OS is XP pro sp2 . Most of the people in the squadron use laptops (again, not ruggedized) with a docking station. There is some kind of special software that allows them to send alerts (lightening nearby, etc.). For email we are using Outlook with some special features that delete certain attachments.


33 posted on 07/10/2009 9:04:45 AM PDT by saminfl ( FUBO)
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To: raybbr
Hey i am just wondering do you know if there is an online website where u can buy the computers that have been lost?
Please reply.
34 posted on 09/13/2009 9:38:23 AM PDT by Linkinpark123
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To: Linkinpark123
Hey i am just wondering do you know if there is an online website where u can buy the computers that have been lost? Please reply.

Not a clue. And, do you really think that these people simply turn them in to their supervisors and let the govt keep them? TSA agents who get paid about $15/hour?

35 posted on 09/13/2009 9:56:31 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: centurion316
Hey just wondering but do you know if there is an online website where u can buy the abandoned laptops let me know if u find out.Please reply.
36 posted on 09/13/2009 9:57:26 AM PDT by Linkinpark123
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