Whether they’re here for business or for pleasure, visitors leave just about everything behind in our city.
If you’re going to lose something here, lose it at the Las Vegas Convention Center (operated by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority). There’s a better-than-average chance that you’ll get it back.
On typical days, eyeglasses and cellphones pile up inside the convention center’s security office, and the team assigned to process every lost item works 24 hours a day to get those items back in the hands of their owners. “If it shows up, we’ll contact the owner, and if they’re still in town we’ll say, ‘Come pick up your item,’” says Ray Suppe, the LVCVA’s executive director of customer safety. “If they’re out of town, we’ll mail it to them at our cost,” he adds.
Phones, IDs and electronics are easiest to return. Cash too; after all, no one wants to leave a bag of money behind in Las Vegas. The security team has even gone so far as to crack open a hearing aid so they could read the serial number and have it returned to its wearer. But not everything can be identified…
Cleaning Up After a Busy Convention Season
On a table inside the security office, several months’ worth of yet-to-be-returned items are laid out for display. “The first quarter is when people lose the most stuff because that’s the busiest time of year,” remarks Suppe. “[From January] through May, we’re up to about 1,000 items.”
The current stockpile includes a bag containing dozens of pairs of glasses, a pair of tablet computers, a walkie-talkie and a motorcycle jacket, as well as a camera and New York Festivals World Medal that were both found after April’s National Association of Broadcasters convention. “There’s a whole bag of those,” says Control Center Supervisor Jerri Denman-Gray.
The biggest find is a drone kit left behind after this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. It has no identifiable marks, and although the team has been holding onto it past the usual 30-day limit, no one has come forward to claim it. “We’re going to hold onto it a bit longer,” says Suppe.
If the owner never comes for it, the drone will be added to the list of unclaimed items the LVCVA donates to one of several charities, which, in this case, will be Opportunity Village. Eyeglasses go to the Lions Club, Denman-Gray explains, while the tablets will be sent to the Blind Center of Nevada, where they will be mined for parts. “They’ll get the materials out of them and sell the materials,” she says.
You Sure You Want That Back?
On the floor of the convention center, K-9 employee Cooper is busy sniffing out the strange (and sometimes illegal) items people forget to take home.
That list includes a whip. It’s unknown where it came from, but it’s definitely not from the Indiana Jones convention. “It wasn’t that kind of whip,” Denman-Gray says. People have left behind dentures “on more than one occasion,” Suppe adds.
Illegal drugs have even been discovered on the floor and turned over to Las Vegas Metro Police. And suitcases can cause a stir. Some are full of toiletries and other personal items, while others, Denman-Gray explains, are empty and abandoned because the owner doesn’t want to ship or carry the extra luggage. That happens more often than you’d think at the convention center—visitors ditching their displays or materials because it costs too much to take them home.
At least they’re going to a good place. During the last SEMA automotive convention, exhibitors left behind tires and rims that were used for product demonstrations. All of it went to Opportunity Village. So who gets the whip?
“Actually, that’s still here,” Denman-Gray says with a smile.
At Huntridge Tavern, Lost Items Pile Up On Graveyard Shift
Friday and Saturday nights are busy at longtime Las Vegas dive bar Huntridge Tavern. Not coincidentally, those are the nights when things get left behind.
“Nine times out of 10, we know the person,” says bartender Sarah, who is sometimes tasked with keeping track of the phones, IDs and credit cards that get left on or behind the bar. Owners tend to come back for those items. What’s gone unclaimed, however, will leave you scratching your head.
There’s an unopened box of Honey Nut Rollin’ Oats in the lost and found. Sarah speculates the Honey Nut Cheerios knockoff was purchased at the now-closed Save-A-Lot store in the Huntridge Shopping Center. The cereal expired last December.
Someone also left behind a longboard skateboard deck. No wheels, no trucks, just the deck. This begs the question: Were those pieces missing before or after the board was brought into the bar?
The lost and found bin is almost always filled with coats, Sarah says. But that’s a good thing. If you never claim that coat you left on the back of your barstool, it goes next door to Savers, the thrift store chain that partners with a number of local charities.
How Do You Forget Your Leg?
The mind reels at the thought of what turns up in the lost and found at Rehab Beach Club.
“I’ll see people leaving the club in a towel, and when security asks for the towel back, they tell them, ‘I can’t find my pants,’” says Joe Bravo, director of nightlife and daylife for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
In his four years, Bravo has seen his team pick up lost belongings in every category: electronics (phones and cameras), apparel (shirts, shoes and pants) and unmentionables (bachelorette party playthings). But what’s the strangest thing a person ever left behind?
“A prosthetic leg,” he says. “When you leave a prosthetic leg behind, that means you probably walked in with it. How do you leave and forget your leg? It’s not like it’s a Halloween prop; this was a full-fledged prosthetic leg.”