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SFPD has no record of ‘lost’ iPhone 5 prototype investigation

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If a story sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unfortunately, that looks to be the case with this week’s hilarious news that an Apple employee had allegedly lost another iPhone prototype, in a bar, no less.

According to SF Weekly, the San Francisco Police Department has no record of an investigation into a second lost pre-release iPhone. That should come as a surprise to CNet writers Greg Sandoval and Declan McCullagh, who reported Wednesday that SFPD, along with Apple’s private investigators, were looking into the whereabouts of a prototype iPhone, which is said to have been lost at Cava 22, a tequila bar in San Francisco’s trendy Mission district.

Apple reportedly “electronically traced” the phone to the home of a “man in his twenties,” in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, according to an anonymous source “familiar with the investigation.”

“I talked to CNet,” said SFPD spokesman Officer Albie Esparza, to SF Weekly. “I don’t know who his source is, but we don’t have any record of any such an investigation going on at this point.”

As SF Weekly reports, Esparza says there is no record of officers, from either the Mission or Ingleside police stations, visiting the Bernal Heights neighborhood, where they are said to have visited the evident location of the missing iPhone — and there should be, had they done so. Nor do police dispatchers have any records of any investigation taking place at that residence.

To the credit of Sandoval and McCullagh, they explicitly report that Apple has not filed a report with the SFPD about the lost phone. And the owner of Cava 22, where the phone is said to have gone missing, told them he has not been contacted by either SFPD or Apple about a missing phone, though he says someone did call repeatedly about a missing iPhone.

As we all surely know by now, this story — true or not — follows last year’s lost iPhone 4 debacle, which also involved an Apple employee losing a prototype at a bar. That device was eventually sold to Gizmodo for $5,000.

A serious investigation followed. Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, who purchased the phone, as well as Gizmodo‘s parent company, Gawker Media, were eventually cleared of all charges. The two young men who sold the lost phone, Brian Hogan, 22, and Sage Wallower, 28, face misdemeanor charges. Thursday, they both pled not guilty.

Update: According to Peter Pachal of PCMag, Apple has been giving SFPD the “run around” in their attempts to find out what the iPhone maker knows about the alleged investigation. Apple has also been unwilling to comment about the matter to anyone. Given the fact that Apple won’t even cooperate with police, as well as the discrepancies in the CNet report, this story is beginning to look more and more like a hoax to get free publicity — a presumption many had as soon as they heard the “news.” Why Apple would need any more free publicity — especially the kind of publicity that makes their employees look like drunken idiots — is beyond us. But, of course, crazier things have happened.

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