Saturday, September 3, 2011

Apple Investigators Allegedly Posed as Cops in iPhone Prototype Hunt

Above the Law? We ARE the Law
A little more light has been shed on the odd story of Apple losing another iPhone prototype in a Bay Area bar.

The man who’s home was searched by what he believed to be San Francisco Police Department officers was Bernal Heights resident Sergio Calderón, SF Weekly discovered. And the police officers? They may have been investigators working for Apple who were actually impersonating police officers.

Impersonating a police officer is a misdemeanor in California, and is punishable by up to a year of jail time. Another option is that Apple was working with police officers, and a proper report was never filed. When the SFPD has been called and asked about the Apple incident, representatives said they had no knowledge of the search.

“This is something that’s going to need to be investigated now,” SFPD spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield told SF Weekly. “If this guy is saying that the people said they were SFPD, that’s a big deal.”

On Wednesday CNET reported that in late July an Apple representative lost a “priceless” next generation iPhone prototype in San Francisco bar Cava 22. Apple reportedly used GPS to track the phone to a Bernal Heights area home, where police officers were given permission to search the home for the device. The resident was offered money by Apple for the iPhone’s safe return, but it was not turned in. The phone was sold on Craigslist for $200, according to CNET, but no independent evidence of the post has surfaced.

The incident is reminiscent of what happened last year when an iPhone 4 prototype was left at a Redwood City bar, and purchased for $5,000 by Gizmodo.

Here’s what went down, according to the new report by SF Weekly:

Calderón said that at about 6 p.m. six people — four men and two women — wearing badges of some kind showed up at his door. “They said, ‘Hey, Sergio, we’re from the San Francisco Police Department.’” He said they asked him whether he had been at Cava 22 over the weekend (he had) and told him that they had traced a lost iPhone to his home using GPS.

They did not say they were there on Apple’s behalf, but they said that the “owner of the phone” would offer Calderón $300 for the phone.

Calderón told SF Weekly that he was threatened by the law-enforcement officers when they visited his house, and said that he has no knowledge of the prototype.

One of the officers who visited the Calderón household was a man named “Tony”. He left his phone number with Calderón in case he discovered any information about the lost phone. It turns out the phone number belongs to an ex-cop named Anthony Colon, who apparently now works for Apple. A search on LinkedIn found that Colon works as a special investigator for Apple and is a former San Jose police officer. That page is now removed from the site, but caches can still be viewed.

This tale keeps getting weirder and weirder. Apple hasn’t returned phone calls on the matter from
Yet more illegal and/or immoral activity from the almighty Apple.   They'll probably claim that this was the work of someone operating against their orders and "disciplinary action" will be taken with that individual.  Yeah, more plausible deniability BS.  If this story is verified, Apple needs to face serious charges.  Put a few CEOs in prison, that just might open a few eyes.


  1. It's just like a hater to believe the worst.

    Apple did NOT impersonate police. SF police DID however act on Apple's behalf to attempt to recover the phone --just as I imagine you would hope they would do for you if someone took off with your phone, and you had tracked it to an address.

    "San Francisco Police Department spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield now tells SF Weekly that "three or four" SFPD officers accompanied two Apple security officials in an unusual search of a Bernal Heights man's home..."

  2. Well of course people are going to believe the worst, it's Apple. Leading that guy to believe they were police, he was intimidated. They should have made it clear they were from Apple. And why would the police have to escort them there? The guy committed no crime and no complaint was ever filed with the cops.

    "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.

    Sounds like they DID impersonate police officers to me.

  3. "Well of course people are going to believe the worst, it's Apple"

    No, not people in general, just haters.

    The persons who actually identified themselves as police probably were in fact SFPD. Its not like each one in a group of five individually identified themselves. I can understand how the assumption was made that the whole group was police.

    I admit that it seems irregular to have Apple personnel accompany them for the search, but that may have been necessary to identify the device. It is also odd that Apple didn't file an official report, but I suppose they hoped to simply recover the phone without having to deal with publicity and pressing charges etc. I guess that didn't work out as planned.

    From what I've read so far, it sounds like someone from that household actually had possession of the phone (they admitted that were at the club where the phone was lost, and the phone was tracked to their address).

    I'm not sure what will happen next, but I don't think some horrible injustice was done by Apple or the cops.

  4. "The persons who actually identified themselves as police probably were in fact SFPD."

    Any evidence to suggest this?

  5. "Calderon [the man whose house was searched], who didn't mention who had actually entered into the house, confirmed that only two people actually entered the house and hadn't identified themselves as police officers."

  6. Actually, what happened is this. Multiple people showed up and one of them (presumably one of the cops) identified them as being from the SFPD. Then the 2 Apple employees did not specify that they weren't SFPD and asked to search the house. They were banking on the fact that the homeowner wouldn't ask. Besides, the cops didn't need to be there. No crime had been committed and there was no reason to believe there would be violence or need for police. They did, however, gain the ability to conduct an illegal search. Apple is clearly in the wrong. The whole incident was handled very poorly. Go ahead and defend them all you blind Apple sheep.

  7. I admit it was handled poorly. Apple should have made an official police report, and let them investigate.

    But I have to say the current laws, priorities, and procedures for handling reports of lost items have not been updated to handle devices with built in tracking, where time is of the essence--
    Particularly the case where a valuable secret prototype is the lost item.

    While there was no need to assume violence, a crime certainly may have been committed if someone took a phone which was not his own. I don't know where people get the idea that an item found in a bar or restaurant is free for the taking. Just because you don't know who the real owner is doesn't excuse theft. As to whether the search was in fact illegal remains to be determined.

    But go ahead and blame Apple. That's what all good haters do.

  8. So, the next time I lose something, say my car keys, I should be able to tell the cops I lost a valuable "secret prototype" and they should escort me around to help me look for them? Awesome. Finding something in a bar and picking it up is not theft in any way, sorry. It's not just haters blaming Apple btw. I know a few Apple lovers that say that what happened was shady and most likely illegal. They are reasonable people with common sense and say they have no desire to defend Apple when it's not warranted.

  9. You've made my point with your sarcasm. Of course the instances of a lost set of car keys and a lost valuable secret prototype with GPS tracking are not equivalent, and ought to warrant different treatment. And that's what they got. If I had tracked a lost or stolen device of mine, and knew where it had been taken to, I'd sure hope to get the police to help me retrieve it ASAP, as I imagine you would too.

    I think there was reasonable cause to search the premises, but that Apple should have filed an official report and had the police do the actual search. So I guess I'd agree there was shadiness. But I just can't get outraged over it, as the phone WAS there (at some point in time).

    Again, whether laws were actually broken on Apple's part remains to be determined. Unlike you, I'll reserve judgment.

    When people forget something, they retrace their steps and return to where they last used it. To pick up something that's not yours, put it in your pocket, leave the premises, and take it home is theft pure and simple. I don't know what your parents taught you. If you are in an establishment like a restaurant or bar, find something valuable, and want to do the right thing, you turn it into the management. You don't friggin' walk off with it.

    I guess because you are hater, and it was Apple's phone, you naturally side with the thieves in this case. If it was your phone, you might feel differently.

  10. Yes, I might get the police involved in an OFFICIAL and DOCUMENTED manor, not like Apple did it. And, I would let them handle it completely. The phone might have been near that location but, as we all know, GPS can be off and it could have been outside the house. There's no judgement to be reserved, there was no crime. If there was a witness that saw someone pick-pocket the phone then, yes, that's a crime. There is no evidence that he ever possessed the phone at all. My parents really don't factor into it but the actual law and evidence do.

    If it was my phone and I lost it, I would feel like an idiot and get another one or claim it against my phone insurance. I could also offer a reward for it's return but I wouldn't consider someone a thief for taking it off the floor or something. And I'm not siding with "thieves" because there are none.

  11. Oh, yeah, GPS can be off. But the guy whose house was searched admits he was at the establishment when and where the phone was lost. What are the odds of that? While he may not of taken it himself, someone he was with may have.

    And your "Finders keepers, losers weepers" attitude makes me sick. How long must something of value be unattended before it is fair game to abscond? Is there a 10-second rule?

    If it was just an ordinary phone that was lost, I'm sure things would have been different. Insurance would have covered it, and that would be it. But an unreleased prototype has the potential to cause inestimable harm to Apple if it finds its way to the press or a competitor. Apple's secretiveness is one of the reasons for its success. Premature news of forthcoming products can stall current sales. Competitors. who have shown that they will readily copy Apple's designs, can get stated that much sooner. Apple can't let the loss of this phone roll off them as easily as you might. And the police should treat this as higher priority than a simple phone loss.

    I've already said that Apple should have made a formal police report, so we agree there.