Lost iPhone 5: Apple security may have impersonated SFPD officers [update: SFPD confirms involvement]

SFPD cruiser Apple iPhone 5

San Francisco Police now confirm that plainclothes officers took part in a search of the 22-year-old Bernal Heights resident, Sergio Calderón, who claims that six visitors identified themselves as SFPD officer. Members of the party searched his home. Calderón claims to have no knowledge of the missing iPhone 5 prototype.

Earlier: The tale of the lost iPhone 5 prototype just took a twist that would make M. Knight Shyamalan proud: SF Weekly reports that Apple employees may have impersonated San Francisco Police officers, in an attempt to recover the misplaced device.

Impersonating a police office is a serious criminal act punishable by up to a year in a California penitentiary.

According to 22-year-old Sergio Calderón, who spoke with SF Weekly, six officers (four men and two women) visited his home in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco in July, after they had used GPS to trace the device to his residence. The officers wore badges, and identified themselves as San Francisco police officers, Calderón said.

They asked him whether he had visited Cava 22, a tequila bar in the Mission neighborhood where the phone was allegedly lost, over the weekend. He had. After Caderón told them he did not have the device, they proceeded to intimidate Calderón and his family.

“They threatened me,” Calderón told SF Weekly. “We don’t know anything about [the iPhone prototype], still, to this day.”

Frightened, Calderón allowed the “officers” to search his home and his car. He also allowed them to inspect his computer to see which devices he had connected to it. In the process, one of the officers threatened to call immigration officials on Calderón’s family, all of whom are in the US legally. “One of the officers is like, ‘Is everyone in this house an American citizen?’ They said we were all going to get into trouble,'” he said.

After repeatedly denying that he knew anything about the lost iPhone, Calderón was offered $300 from one of the officer to return the prototype. He reiterated that he did not have the device.

“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,” he said.

One of the so-called officers, who identified himself as “Tony,” gave Calderón a telephone number, and told him to call if he had any information about the lost iPhone.

Calderón gave that number to SF Weekly, who called. A man named Anthony Colon answered, and confirmed that he works for Apple. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a former San Jose Police sergeant, and works for Apple as a “senior investigator.” His profile was taken down after SF Weekly published its report.


Prior to Calderón’s claims about his visitor, SFPD told SF Weekly that they had no record of any police investigation into the missing iPhone 5, nor any record of officers being dispatched to Calderón’s residence. SFPD also indicated that Apple was being uncooperative when they tried to find out about the supposed lost iPhone investigation.

This follows a report by CNet, which claimed an Apple employee had lost the iPhone 5 prototype at Cava 22 — an odd repeat of the lost iPhone 4 debacle, which took place around the same time last year.

This new information — that someone employed by Apple may have impersonated San Francisco police — would explain many of the holes in this story, especially the reason SFPD has no record of an investigation taking place, despite claims that SFPD officers had conducted just such an investigation.

An SFPD spokesman told SF Weekly that they would investigate the officer impersonation claims if Calderón decided to speak with them.

“If the person is reporting that people misrepresented themselves as San Francisco police officers, that’s something we will need to investigate,” said Lt. Troy Dangerfield of the SFPD. “We take people representing themselves as police officers very seriously.”

[Image via Anthony Hall/Shutterstock – LinkedIn screenshot via The Next Web]


Apple CEO demands Bloomberg retract its Chinese surveillance story

Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling on Bloomberg to retract a story alleging that Apple had purchased compromised servers that allowed the Chinese government to spy on Apple. Apple's investigation found no truth to the story.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

Apple sends out invites for October hardware event, new iPad Pro expected

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.

Google Maps brings its real-time journey-tracking feature to iPhone

It's been available on Android for a while now, and now Google Maps has brought its real-time journey-tracking feature to iOS. It lets you choose who to share a journey with, and tracking ends automatically when you arrive.

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…

A strap for everyone: The best Apple Watch bands you can buy right now

If you have an Apple Watch, you know how easy it is to take off the strap it came with, so why not buy yourself another one? Here we've gathered the best Apple Watch bands we've seen so far and there's something for everyone.

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.

Which new iPhone is the best? iPhone XS vs. iPhone XS Max vs. iPhone XR

Apple has three new iPhone models to choose from this year, making the choice a little harder than usual. What's the difference between the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR, and which is best?

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.

Apple’s latest feature ensures MacOS apps are safer than ever

MacOS is mythically known for being more immune to viruses than Windows, but that doesn't mean there isn't room to make it safer. Apple is using an app notarization feature to protect users from downloading malicious apps.

Will Apple introduce a new MacBook at its Oct. 30 event? Here's everything we know

Whether it's called the MacBook Air or just the MacBook, Apple is highly rumored to introduce a new, affordable laptop in 2018. We discuss reports about upgrading displays, processors, sign-in features, and more.

Sams's Club offers $100 gift cards for iPhone XR pre-orders

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.