Lauren Goode

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CES Lost and Found: A Hot Spot for Hotspots and Lost Teeth

There was no real reason for me to stop by the CES Lost and Found this year: No lost chargers, laptops, jewelry — nothing. My smartphone was stuck to me all week like another appendage, my heavy DSLR hung in front of me like a baby in a Snugli.

LostandFound

But after last year’s necessity-driven visit to the Lost and Found turned up more than just tech, I had to go back to see what this year would bring.

It did not disappoint.

The Lost and Found was a hot spot for Wi-Fi hotspots this year, said Jerri Gray, the control center supervisor at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Also: Phones. “Lots of iPhones have been turned in. Lots of phones, period,” Gray told me. “And one iPad, so far.”

And then Gray disappeared for a minute behind the glass bank-teller panel she spoke to me through. When she returned, she had a small manila envelope in her hand. She shook it out onto the tray in front of me.

“Someone lost their teeth again,” she said.

Gray went on to tell me that the LVCVA Lost and Found has more than a 50 percent success rate when it comes to returning items to conference-goers.

Teeth

She and a few others staff the booth 24/7 year-round, with extra workers on hand during CES. When it’s possible to identify the owner of an item, they’ll send letters in the weeks after the conference to try to track him or her down.

The best lost item of CES 2013 is straight out of “The Hangover”: $2,000 in a satchel, along with a foreign license that made it difficult for Gray and her team to contact the owner.

She assigned a staffer the overnight shift over at South Hall, where the satchel had been found, in case the man came back for it. He did, and reclaimed his $2,000.

He was very happy, Gray said.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus