Man claims police impersonators searched home for lost prototype iPhone (Updated)

Update: SFWeekly is now reporting that SFPD did in fact assist Apple in the search of the Bernal Heights man’s home.

A Bernal Heights man claims six men claiming to be San Francisco Police searched his home in July alleging they had traced a prototype next-gen iPhone to the location, this according to a report from SFWeekly. This comes after a report from CNET yesterday detailing the story but claiming police and Apple employees were actually involved. San Francisco police later denied the incident.

SFWeekly reports:

“Calderón said that at about 6 p.m. six people — four men and two women — wearing badges of some kind showed up at his door. “They said, ‘Hey, Sergio, we’re from the San Francisco Police Department.'” He said they asked him whether he had been at Cava 22 over the weekend (he had) and told him that they had traced a lost iPhone to his home using GPS”

After an extended search of the man’s property turned up nothing, the intruders allegedly offered $300 for the device’s safe return and also left a phone number. SFWeekly says they’ve called that number and claim it was answered by Apple Senior Investigator and former San Jose Police sergeant Anthony Colon who declined to comment. 9to5Mac discovered that Colon has just deleted his LinkedIn profile, which confirmed his status as an Apple employee (saved image of that profile embedded below the fold).

While there is no proof that the men involved were associated with Apple in any way, Caldeorn reports, “They made it seem like they were on the phone with the owner of the phone, and they said, ‘The person’s not pressing charges, they just want it back, and they’ll give you $300″. There have been allegations that the original story posted by CNET was a publicity stunt, possibly orchestrated by Apple. However, we cant’t help but feel like Caldeorn’s description of the men doesn’t sound very Apple-employee like.

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CNET: iPhone prototype lost in Mexican bar, Apple employees offer cash to finder?


Back in July, someone sent in this photo described as portraying a prototype phone, presumably iPhone 5, in the hands of an Apple employee on his way from work in San Francisco.

We find it hard to believe Apple would be foolish enough to lose another iPhone prototype – and at a bar, too – but this comes from CNET and they’re vouching for it. An iPhone prototype – probably for an upcoming model,  allegedly went missing last month in Cava22, a Mexican restaurant and bar in San Francisco’s Mission District.

The device may have been already sold on Craiglist for $200, the publication has it. CNET has learned that the errant phone “sparked a scramble by Apple security to recover the device over the next few days”. Apple representative allegedly contacted the police, the story goes, to tell the device was “priceless” and that Apple “was desperate” to see it recovered. No details were provided about the phone’s looks or what iOS version it was running. Here’s the thriller part:

Apple electronically traced the phone to a two-floor, single-family home in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood, according to the source. When San Francisco police and Apple’s investigators visited the house, they spoke with a man in his twenties who acknowledged being at Cava 22 on the night the device went missing. But he denied knowing anything about the phone. The man gave police permission to search the house, and they found nothing, the source said.

And this is where the story gets interesting:

Before leaving the house, the Apple employees offered the man money for the phone no questions asked, the source said, adding that the man continued to deny he had knowledge of the phone.

Could it be just us or does that last bit make the entire story less believable. Apple last year pushed the police and FBI into raiding a journalist’s house and now they bribe someone to get their stolen property? Read more