CEDAR CITY — A lost cellphone led police to a California man who they say was avoiding a lifelong order to register as a sex offender by hiding out in Cedar City for 20 years.

A sheriff's deputy responded to a call on March 30 about a cellphone and other property that had been found near Comstock Road in Cedar City and discovered that it belonged to Gary Albritton, said Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower.

"The phone had some disturbing things on it," Gower said.

The phone's information led deputies to a former employer, who identified Albritton through a photograph saved on the phone, Gower said. Investigators discovered Albritton is a non-compliant sex offender who had previously been incarcerated in California. Police did not provide information about Albritton's criminal history.

Investigators were still looking into how Albritton stayed hidden for 20 years, though the plan included sending all his mail to a business address, Gower said.

Albritton, 57, has been in Cedar City for 20 years, which leads police to worry there may be victims in the area.

"We don't know this guy's activity. Obviously he flew under the radar for that many years," Gower said. "There's always a chance there's a victim there that could come forward now."

Albritton was arrested Wednesday for investigation of failure to register as a sex offender and for a minor traffic warrant.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Iron County Sheriff's Office at 435-867-7500.

— McKenzie Romero