Delta Air Lines
A Delta Air Lines jet is prepared for flight at the Salt Lake International Airport in Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 12, 2005. Getty Images/ George Frey

A Delta Air Lines passenger said a cleaning crew stole his laptop after he left it on the airline during his travel. Police are investigating the incident that took place on Dec. 13 at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia.

“I was not hopeful. I was not expecting to actually get it,” Robert, who did not reveal his last name, told local Atlanta news station WSB-TV. “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.”

According to the report, the passenger used the Find My iPhone application on his phone and was able to locate his laptop in Hapeville, just 10 minutes from the airport. He then filed a complaint with the Hapeville Police Department.

The police report, obtained by WSB-TV, states that the person who lived at the location where the laptop was last tracked admitted to cleaning airplanes at the Atlanta airport for a living. He also said he took the device and sold it for $500.

Police were able to persuade the suspect to contact the buyer and return the money in exchange for the laptop. The computer was eventually returned to Robert, who was upset following the incident as the laptop contained his children's Christmas wishlist.

“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,” Robert said, raising concerns about such incidents.

According to WSB-TV, Delta Air Lines said it was investigating the incident, but also added that it subcontracts cleaning crews and that the person who took the laptop is likely not a direct employee.

In October, an Emirates flight attendant was accused of stealing $5,036 from three brothers in business class during a flight from Thailand to Dubai. Authorities charged a 37-year-old Egyptian flight attendant with the theft, which took place in June, after matching his fingerprints on one of the men's wallets.

Aviation Security International says that boarding time can be a particularly vulnerable period when people may end up losing their valuables.

“Thieves realise that most passengers let their guard down once they are on board as they do not expect this kind of crime to occur in such an environment,” ASI said. “Passengers simply become complacent, taking their eyes off their valuables in the mistaken belief it is safe to do so, making them an easy target.”

In another incident that took place in September, a Ryanair passenger captured video of a baggage handler stealing a speaker from a suitcase. According to Fox News, the baggage handler had just started the job three days before the incident.