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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
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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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