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MIA Lost Luggage To Become Treasures For Goodwill Shoppers

SOUTH FLORIDA (CBSMiami) – All that luggage left behind by MIA travelers will soon be put to better use.

For years, Miami International Airport has been selling the luggage at public auctions after it went unclaimed for 90 days. That process, however, was time-consuming and expensive.

To rid themselves of the excess baggage, Goodwill Industries of South Florida signed a two-year contract with MIA to buy the unopened suitcases in bulk. The non-profit will sell these treasure chests of sorts in two of their South Florida Superstores.

On Friday morning, in the back room of the Goodwill Central Superstore, more than 800 such treasures were on display.

"[One] man's junk is another man's treasure," said Dina Hall, a Goodwill employee who helped sift through the suitcases.

"You'd be surprised when we go through this luggage what we find."

They found everything from electronics to clothes and collectible antiques. Hundreds of pricey glasses left behind are also up for grabs.

At MIA's public auctions, bidders would buy a bag without knowing what was inside.

"The store becomes the mystery now," said Lourdes de la Mata-Little, Goodwill's vice president of marketing. "You walk into the store and you don't know what you're going to find."

All of the proceeds will go directly towards training and employing people with disabilities in Miami.

"The more suitcases, the more donations, the more money that we make through the sales, the more people we help," said de la Mata-Little.

The items are already on store shelves at the Goodwill Superstore at 2125 NW 21st Street and 982 S.W. 8 St. Goodwill receives new shipments of lost items from MIA every month.

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