Lost iPhone: SFPD escorted Apple to search man’s home


The Apple Inc. logo is seen in the lobby of New York City's flagship Apple store. (MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS)
September 6, 2011

If possible, the story of the lost iPhone of 2011 is even weirder than last year’s lost phone tale.

The San Francisco Police Department released a press statement Saturday saying that some of its officers escorted Apple employees to search the home of a man the SFWeekly identified as Sergio Calderon, to look for the lost iPhone prototype. The phone was reportedly left in a San Francisco bar, a strange echo of the 2010 incident that led to tech blog Gizmodo’s exclusive reports on the iPhone 4 before its release.

CNET broke the story of the lost iPhone prototype last week. But the report brought up several questions, namely why the SFPD had no record of an investigation into Apple’s search for the device. The story got even stranger when the SFWeekly said that it found Calderon and that he spun a bizarre tale about six men with badges coming to his home to search for the device. The newspaper reported at Calderon said that two of the men entered his home to look for the phone and raised questions about Calderon’s immigration status. One of the men gave Calderon his contact information, and that number was traced to Apple security officer Anthony Colon, the paper said.

Because SFPD said it had no record of the search or the investigation, some had speculated that Apple security members had searched the house posing as police officers, which would be a crime.

Saturday’s statement from the SFPD fills in some of the details and explains why there’s no official paperwork on the matter:

After speaking with Apple representatives, we were given information which helped us determine what occurred. It was discovered that Apple employees called Mission Police station directly, wanting assistance in tracking down a lost item. Apple had tracked the lost item to a house located in the 500 block of Anderson Street. Because the address was in the Ingleside Police district Apple employees were referred to Officers in the Ingleside district. Four SFPD Officers accompanied Apple employees to the Anderson street home. The two Apple employees met with the resident and then went into the house to look for the lost item. The Apple employees did not find the lost item and left the house. The Apple employees did not want to make an official report of the lost item.

Apple has not released a statement on the CNET story and could not immediately be reached for comment on the police statement.

Then, of course, there’s the unresolved issue of the device itself. Right now, it appears there’s no lead on what the device actually is, where it might be or how and why it was traced to Calderon’s home. The original CNET report indicated that the device had possibly been sold on Craigslist.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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