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Allegheny

Pittsburgh airport to auction lost, abandoned items

| Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, 11:54 p.m.
Steven Phillips (in green) and Cordell King, employees of Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction  & Realty Service, try to open an unclaimed briefcase as Dawn Romitz, manager of terminal operations, looks on in Pittsburgh International Airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Steven Phillips (in green) and Cordell King, employees of Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction & Realty Service, try to open an unclaimed briefcase as Dawn Romitz, manager of terminal operations, looks on in Pittsburgh International Airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.
Boxes of clothing, accessories, jewelry and other items are stacked in a storage area inside Pittsburgh International Airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. The items, as well as unclaimed electronics, abandoned vehicles, used Airport Authority vehicles and more will be up for auction on Saturday.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Boxes of clothing, accessories, jewelry and other items are stacked in a storage area inside Pittsburgh International Airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. The items, as well as unclaimed electronics, abandoned vehicles, used Airport Authority vehicles and more will be up for auction on Saturday.
Pittsburgh International Airport spokesman Bob Kerlik looks in an abandoned vehicle inside the airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Abandoned vehicles, used Airport Authority vehicles, unclaimed clothing, jewelry, electronics and other items will be up for auction on Saturday.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh International Airport spokesman Bob Kerlik looks in an abandoned vehicle inside the airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Abandoned vehicles, used Airport Authority vehicles, unclaimed clothing, jewelry, electronics and other items will be up for auction on Saturday.
Cordell King of Fairmont, W.Va., (front) and Steven Phillips of Mt. Morris, Pa., employees of Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction & Realty Service, look through unclaimed luggage in Pittsburgh International Airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Cordell King of Fairmont, W.Va., (front) and Steven Phillips of Mt. Morris, Pa., employees of Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction & Realty Service, look through unclaimed luggage in Pittsburgh International Airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.
Unclaimed cell phones sit in a box inside Pittsburgh International Airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Abandoned vehicles, used Airport Authority vehicles, unclaimed clothing, jewelry, electronics and other items will be up for auction on Saturday.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Unclaimed cell phones sit in a box inside Pittsburgh International Airport's Heavy Equipment Building on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Abandoned vehicles, used Airport Authority vehicles, unclaimed clothing, jewelry, electronics and other items will be up for auction on Saturday.

Sometime in the past year, a 1996 Honda Civic was left at the Pittsburgh International Airport after the owner went on a trip and wound up in jail.

The car sat in the airport parking lot for more than 45 days before it was towed away, airport spokesman Bob Kerlik said.

A 2013 Chevrolet Cruze became abandoned at the airport when its owner died after flying from Pittsburgh to another city. His family never picked up the car, Kerlik said.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority will offer the vehicle, as well as hundreds of other lost and discarded items, at a public auction Saturday.

“You don't know what you're going to find that people left at an airport,” said Robert Phillips, an auctioneer and sales manager at Joe R. Pyle Auctions, which will oversee the bidding.

The auction list includes 17 abandoned cars and 17 older airport vehicles. Some are in better shape than others, Kerlik said.

Several abandoned vehicles are dented or have rust on the exterior. Potential buyers can inspect the vehicles starting at 8 a.m., two hours before the bidding begins.

Other items up for bid: cellphones, laptop computers, books, coats, hats, blankets and assorted jewelry travelers have left behind.

Airport officials try to find the owners and return the property when possible, Kerlik said.

The authority auctions off the items because “we can't possibly store all this stuff,” Kerlik said. “The vehicles take up space.”

Last year's auction brought in more than $100,000. Money raised from the sales of abandoned vehicles reimburses the airport for parking fees and towing costs.

Most of the money from the sale of surplus airport items goes to the authority's general fund. Proceeds from lost and found items are donated to the Airport Authority Charitable Foundation, Kerlik said. The foundation donates the money to nonprofits that support veterans and members of the military using the airport and visual arts projects at the airport and other charitable programs.

Auctioneers will accept cash, check and credit cards. There will be a 15 percent buyer's premium with 5 percent waived for cash or check purchase.

Payment must be made in full. Buyers must remove their purchases from airport property within a week.

Tony Raap is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7827 or traap@tribweb.com.

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