Passenger says airplane cleaning crew stole laptop, fears it can happen to others

ATLANTA — A local airline passenger forgot his laptop on a plane last Thursday and now, police are investigating the possibility that the person who cleaned the airplane took it.

The passenger used the Find my iPhone app on his phone, which gave him an exact address in Hapeville where the laptop pinged last.

"I was not hopeful. I was not expecting to actually get it,” said passenger Robert, who did not want to reveal his last name. "I called Delta, tried to get them to track it down. They just put me through to lost and found and I left a voicemail.”

Frustrated about the lack of urgency -- and the fact that he's been through this before --
Robert took matters into his own hands.

"When you go in there, it shows you all your devices and you can zoom and see where they are,” Robert said describing the Find my iPhone app.

The house in Hapeville, where he found his device, was less than 10 minutes from the airport.


Channel 2's Alyssa Hyman obtained the police report from the Hapeville Police Department.

The report said a person living at the location admitted to detectives to cleaning airplanes at the Atlanta airport for a living and ultimately admitted that he took the laptop off one of those planes and sold it for $500 in cash.

"My kids' Christmas list was on there," Robert said.

Detectives persuaded the man to call the buyer and buy back the laptop, which finally was returned to Robert.

But he's concerned how this could have happened in the first place.

"Probably a lot of people after a long day of travel forget phones, laptops, whatever -- and the fact that it can be so brazenly taken right out of an airport is frustrating and I think a little bit scary in the bigger picture,” he said.

Hyman reached out to Delta Air Lines about the incident. A Delta spokesperson said the company is still looking into the matter.

However, the company said it subcontracts the cleaning crews and the person who took the device is likely not a Delta employee.

The Hapeville police said the investigation is ongoing and charges could be pending.