3,000 items lost monthly at Sea-Tac Airport

KING 5

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SEATAC, Wash. -- Sea-Tac Airport continues to shatter attendance records, and that means more people are also losing their belongings.

The Lost and Found office is a quiet space operated by the YWCA and is a unique partnership between the organization and the Port of Seattle. It employs a handful of women who are looking to get back into the workforce.

They help tag and sort about 250 items a day that comes to them, and that can be anything from laptops and smartphones to passports and jewelry.

And then there are the weird things.

"The teeth and the prosthetic eyes, the human ashes," says Veta Hernandez, Lost and Found operations manager. "People pack really strange things in their luggage, too. Some of it's not so great. We wear gloves sometimes."

The workers spend much of their time calling people and places to follow up on an item. They often use police as a resource to crack passwords on electronics to find owners. They have a near 45 percent return rate on items -- a rate that would be even higher if it weren't for items like eyeglasses and coats and other things that are difficult to trace back to a person.

The unique partnership between the YWCA and the port gives the lost and found some heart. It is part of the port's mission to create opportunities for all people.

"All of the women that work here have overcome adversity," says Hernandez. "What makes it such a great place, no matter if they are an intern or not, is that we can see the road to our experiences, use our experiences, and help and inspire and empower other women."

Lost and Found keeps items for 30 days before donating them to various charities.

Copyright 2017 KING


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