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iPhone 5 Saga: Man Thought SFPD Entered His Home, But it Was Apple Detectives


"I thought they were SFPD. That's why I let them in."

The San Francisco Police Department is contradicting itself. Initially, SFPD said there was no record of them helping Apple search a man's home for the iPhone 5 prototype lost in July. Now, the department is saying it did...but only Apple employees entered the house in which Apple detectives thought they had traced the prototype.

Sergio Calderón, the owner of the home, said to San Francisco Weekly that six badge-wearing visitors came to his home in July and asked about the phone. Calderón let two people into his home who did not say they were with SFPD or not. San Francisco Weekly has more:

Calderón said none of them acknowledged being employed by Apple, and one of them offered him $300, and a promise that the owner of the phone would not press charges, if he would return the device.

The visitors also allegedly threatened him and his family, asking questions about their immigration status. "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.

One of the officers left a phone number with him, which SF Weekly traced to Anthony Colon, an investigator employed at Apple, who declined to comment when we reached him.

. . .

Calderón said he was under the impression that they were all police, since they were part of the group outside that identified themselves as SFPD officials. The two who entered the house did not disclose that they were private security officers, according to Calderón.

"When they came to my house, they said they were SFPD," Calderón said. "I thought they were SFPD. That's why I let them in." He said he would not have permitted the search if he had been aware the two people conducting it were not actually police officers.

Gizmodo called several people at the SFPD on September 1 for information about SFPD's involvement in the search -- this was before SFPD's recent admission to participating -- and here's what they were told:

An initial call to the SFPD yesterday ended with them asking for an email detailing all our questions about the investigation. Apparently, no one in the media department had any knowledge of the missing iPhone or the investigation around it. As of this writing, they have not replied to the email.

After another call to the SFPD's media relations department today, I spoke with Officer Albie Esparza, who had talked to Apple earlier this morning about the incident. He requested a report number so that he could inform the media what was happening in the investigation. But according to Officer Esparza, there is "no record" of this lost iPhone. Nothing.

San Francisco Weekly writes it is "unclear" if this will count as impersonating a police officer. When they questioned SFPD spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield if the Apple detectives may have misrepresented themselves, he said: "I don't have any indication of that. I'm not going to go there."

CNET's Blog brings up an interesting observation. Could SFPD having no record of their involvement in the search one day and admitting it the other be liked to some skittishness after they sent a word file to reporters that was named iPhone5.doc, according to Reuters? Apple did not identify what the lost device actually was and has not even announced the creating iPhone 5 yet, though it is rumored that it's release will come in October.

[H/T Gizmodo]

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