An Apple employee left an iPhone 5 prototype in a bar in San Francisco, which (you guessed it) has now been stolen… Apple have gone to great lengths to get the phone back tracking the missing iPhone 5 to a house in San Francisco. Apple and possibly some San Francisco police officers may have overstepped legal bounds attempting to retrieve the missing iPhone during a raid on the suggest house in late July.
If you follow Gadget news this will probably sound familiar… In 2010 an Apple employee left an iPhone 4 prototype in a Mountain View Bar after going out for Birthday drinks. A guy at the bar (Brian Hogan) picked up the iPhone and took it home, thinking it was just an iPhone 3gs. After Hogan got the phone home and removed the case he released it was an iPhone 4 prototype, Hogan and his friend then began contacting various gadget sites across the Internet in an attempt to sell the device. Eventually Gizmodo bought the iPhone 4 prototype for $5,000 and published the device online way before Apple’s public release! Talk about stealing Steve Jobs’s thunder?
It would seem history is repeating it’s self, but with a few changes this time… In July 2011 a device which may have been iPhone 5 prototype was left in a tequila bar called Cava 22 in San Francisco’s Mission District. Apple’s security team then tracked the iPhone using the GPS location feature to a home of an individual called Sergio Calderón.
Sergio Calderón claims that 6 people came to his home in late July asking if he has been to Cava 22 on the night the device went missing and if it was him that picked it up. Calderón admitted he had been to Cava 22 on that night but denied that he had the phone in his possession. One of the 6 people that visited Calderón claimed to be an SFPD officer.
Calderón said he agreed to a search after being told the police could return with a warrant, the search turned up nothing. Apparently Apple’s security team also looked at Calderón’s computer in an effort to find evidence that the device had been plugged in. Those same Apple investigators, one of which was later identified as retired San Jose Police sergeant Anthony Colon—offered money for the device and made veiled threats about contacting the Immigration & Naturalization Service after the search had failed. “One of the officers is like, ‘Is everyone in this house an American citizen?’ They said we were all going to get into trouble,’” Calderón said.
There was no report filed by the SFPD for this case, however CNET reported this week that the SFPD has finally begun an internal investigation into the unusual search. Calderón claims that the Apple investigators did not identify themselves, and he believed they were police. Criminal attorneys who spoke to CNET said that the threats and lack of transparency about who the Apple investigators were could be the basis for action against the police department. However, since nothing was damaged or lost in the search, Calderón may have little recourse aside from filing a formal complaint.
Police Chief Greg Suhr told the San Francisco Chronicle that the SFPD often assists private investigators in similar cases. “The reason we do civil standby is to make sure there isn’t a problem,” he said. Still, he insisted that his officers did not participate in the search itself. “Whatever conversations the [Apple] employees had with the resident, I can’t say.”
Then departments internal investigation will determine if the officers in question over stepped the mark during this investigation.
How this story will end is still a mystery, but one thing is for sure Apple desperately want this iPhone 5 prototype back to avoid a leak like they experienced with the iPhone 4.
Credit: Ars Technica