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TSA agents confiscate items at Montana airports

TSA security agents show YPR items collected in the last six months
Orlinda Worthington
TSA security agents show YPR items collected in the last six months

Montana is above the national average for the number of firearms detected in carry-on baggage on commercial flights.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport had the highest number of violations in 2023. For every 82, 000 people screened, a firearm was discovered.

It’s not only firearms that are confiscated at security checkpoints.

YPR’s Orlinda Worthington visited Bozeman’s airport to learn what other restricted and unusual items TSA screeners collected.

“This is a baton."

Brass knuckles, hammers, a grenade replica… TSA Agent Erica Richardson continues unpacking confiscated items to show me. A few of the hundreds of prohibited items left behind by passengers had them in their carry-on bags at airports in Bozeman and Billings in just the last six weeks. Large wrenches, long, gold dog grooming shears and a bowling pin painted like Santa Claus. Lorie Dankers, is the TSA spokesperson for Montana.

“So, if it looks like a bludgeoning device, even if it's as friendly as this cute little Santa, don't bring that. That is perfect for checked baggage," Dankers said.

She says other prohibited items commonly found at Montana airports include bear spray, ammunition and power tools. I see an electric drill and a sander. Avery Edwards is with TSA Security.

“Now, for a lot of people, these tools are the tools of their trade. What we see often is maybe their checked bags were too heavy so they pull out the heaviest item not thinking it cannot go in carry on," Edwards said.

The most unusual items Edward has discovered?

“ I think I had a passenger who had a favorite shoe. And when his shank kind of wore out, he took knife blades. And insert them in the shoe and glue it back up and, you know, to provide support. And it wasn't intentional, but he just didn't think going through security is not the best thing," Edwards said.

“So did that gentleman have to then go on the plane without shoes?”

 “No, he had a second pair of shoes.”

In Bozeman, I’m Orlinda Worthington

For the TSA's list of items allowed, click on the link below

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.