An 80-year-old woman had no idea that her trusty walking cane contained a hidden sword until the cane went through security at a South Carolina airport, the Transportation Security Administration said.
With a twist and tug, the elegant cane's bronze handle slid to reveal a hidden blade nearly the length of the cane, the Sun News reported, and the woman reluctantly relinquished her weapon at the Myrtle Beach International Airport.
“She had no clue it was in there,” TSA spokesman Mark Howell said, according to the newspaper. Howell displayed the cane, once given to the woman by her son, on a table of other items banned by the TSA and abandoned at the Myrtle Beach airport during an event Thursday.
TSA screeners come across hidden swords "a lot, actually," Howell said, noting that travelers often buy items at thrift stores without realizing the blades stored inside.
Such weapons make up the more than 25 pounds of prohibited items the airport collects each month, Howell said, according to local station WYFF. “And that’s not including liquid gels and aerosol, which is the most common thing," he added.
The TSA often shares about prohibited items its uncovers at airports on its popular Instagram account, including Japanese daggers, fireworks and a knife apparently made from some type of bone.
TSA does not keep the items, the Sun News reported: In South Carolina, the state has a contract with the state of Alabama to regularly pick up surrendered items, which are later resold by that state's surplus office.