About 900 items — including a computer mouse, a single shoe and scores of glasses and bags — abandoned after a shooter opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport two weeks ago are still searching for their owners.
About 95 percent of the 23,000 items lost that day — most of them bags with some form of identification — have been returned to their owners. Images of the remaining items were posted on a password-protected website Wednesday afternoon. As of Thursday morning, about 700 items remained unclaimed.
Among them are items that speak to the chaos of the day: A single toddler sandal, a MacBook computer, an orange dress, a pair of blue swim trunks, a blonde baby doll, a gold chain. Most are the usual goods found in lost-and-found bins: cell phones, jackets, glasses and bags, including one pink-and-white backpack with a tag that reads “Creer para ver,” “Believe in order to see.”
The estimated 12,000 travelers who were at Fort Lauderdale airport on the afternoon of Jan. 6 were caught in hours of chaos as news of a shooter rippled through the airport. When the shooting stopped, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago had killed five people and injured six at the Terminal 2 baggage claim area of the airport.
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The clean-up effort included sorting and recording the thousands of lost items scattered across the airport. Initially, the items were placed in a secured airport hangar by BMS Global, the third-party vendor hired by Broward County to help match belongings with owners. One early success story was 10 -year-old Courtney Gelinas’ teddy bear, Rufus, who was misplaced during the initial scramble; he was discovered in the hangar four days later.
Travelers still searching for items are advised to visit www.global-bms.com and input username “FLLbaggage” and password “Aviation.” The items are sorted both in list and photo form by category. To claim one, email CMartin@bmscat.com.
The site has purposefully left out some identifying information on the description of each item so the company can match each one with the correct person, said Allan Siegel, a spokesman for the airport.
“For each item, someone contacts them via the website, and [BMS Global] calls and asks a question or questions about the item to verify they are the owner,” Siegel said.
Once the company positively matches an item, it will ship it, free of charge, to the owner.
Siegel said the company has not yet determined what it will do with items that are not claimed.