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Visitors to the annual Pittsburgh Airport lost and found auction Saturday pore over jewelry and other items.

Pittsburgh Airport lost and found
Pittsburgh Airport lost and found

At this auction, you might have to kick the tires virtually.

Thanks to COVID-19, the Allegheny County Airport Authority is conducting its annual auction of vehicles abandoned at the Pittsburgh Airport lost and found entirely online rather than in person “to prioritize the safety and health of staff and participants.”

And don’t even think about trying to pick up some good deals on things that travelers typically leave behind, from jewelry to laptops. The pandemic not only grounded many planes and their potential passengers, but cleaning any items that have piled up poses too big a challenge.

Yet, the annual event won’t be without its attractions.

One star of this year’s auction is a black 2018 Chevrolet Camaro SS with 17,424 miles on it, a V8 engine, and a banged up back fender. As of Thursday evening, the sports car had attracted an $11,250 pre-bid.

Another is a black 2016 Cadillac Escalade with 41,593 miles on it, a V8 engine, a dent near the front bumper, and paint scratches. The high pre-bid Thursday was $24,250.

In all, 17 vehicles will be auctioned off Thursday, or three more than last year. Others include a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado, a 2012 Toyota Tundra, a 2008 Toyota Prius missing a front bumper, a 2008 Kia Sorento, and a 2009 Chrysler Town & Country van.

With a salesman-like pitch, Matt Neistein, an airport authority spokesman, described this year’s batch of vehicles as being in “pretty good shape.”

He did add this disclosure: “I don’t think anything looks like it’s coming off the showroom floor.”

Mr. Neistein couldn’t say whether the slight increase in the number of abandoned vehicles to be auctioned this year had anything to do with the coronavirus.

The authority also auctioned off 17 vehicles in 2018 and 2016, and sold 11 in 2017.

Another key element missing this year because of COVID-19 will be lost and found items. Typically, thousands of things left behind by travelers are put up for sale.

Mr. Neistein said it proved to be too difficult for the authority to try to clean and sanitize leftover items in time for the auction.

Instead, it plans to hang on to them for another year with the idea of selling some at a 2021 auction. Other items like clothing and eyeglasses will be donated to local charitable organizations.

“Hopefully, we’ll be at a better point next year than we are now,” Mr. Neistein said.

The annual auction can represent big money for the airport authority. Last year, between vehicles, equipment, and lost and found, it generated $228,000 — money that goes to its charitable foundation.

While bidders won’t be able to physically kick the tires on Thursday, they can do so at either of two-hour long preview sessions to be held Tuesday — one at 10 a.m and one at 2 p.m. — in the airport’s snow removal equipment building, where the auction usually is held.

The actual auction will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24.

According to the authority, COVID-related safety guidelines will be in place at the preview sessions, including physical distancing and limits on the number of people permitted inside the building at any one time.

Also to be auctioned off Thursday are three pieces of airport authority equipment — two scissor lifts and a road grader.

The online auction will be held on the Joe R. Pyle Complete Auction & Realty Service website, where vehicles and equipment can be viewed and bids can be made.

Bidders must register and bid online. Pre-bids will be accepted until 6 p.m. Thursday.

A 15% buyer’s premium will be placed on all purchases. Successful bidders must appear in person at a scheduled appointment on Oct. 2 to pick up their vehicles.

According to the authority, vehicles must be towed from the airport unless bought by a dealer with appropriate plates.

Lost something at Airport or in a flight? Click here to report online

Dedicated investigation manager for every successful lost report. We work with more than 15000+ Airports & Airlines lost and found offices worldwide. Increase chance of locating your lost property TODAY.

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