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

SFPD cruiser Apple iPhone 5
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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]

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Andrew Couts
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Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
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