D/FW AIRPORT - In the hurried anxiety of modern air travel, it was a simple oversight.
"That's exactly what happened," Todd Wallace said. "It was a last-minute discovery that he had lost it."
Wallace's teenage son, Buckley, was charging his iPhone in Terminal A at D/FW Airport recently and mistakenly left the smartphone when the two began to board their Boston-bound flight.
Once in Massachusetts, Buckley tracked the device using the Find my iPhone application on his dad's phone.
Wallace said the phone was still pinging in Terminal A, but a little later, he and his son noticed the device leaving the south entrance at D/FW.
"We actually sent a message to the phone and indicated it was missing and they should return it," Wallace said. "Right after that, the phone was turned off."
But not before they had traced the phone to an Irving apartment complex just southeast of D/FW.
When police knocked on the door, investigators said the person inside acted like they didn't know what detectives were talking about. Turns out, police found a half-dozen smartphones inside the janitor's apartment, including three HTCs, one Dell, and two Apple iPhones.
"We found some additional phones, which he initially stated his brother had given to him because he works for a phone company," said Lt. Lonnie Freeman, D/FW Airport Department of Public Safety. "So we called his brother, and his brother said he has never given him any phones and doesn't work for a phone company."
Police tracked down four owners of the smart phones, Lt. Freeman added.
But it's doubtful the airport janitor will go to jail, because so far, none of the victims have filed charges against him.