September 8, 2011
Apple Feeling The Heat Over Missing iPhone Investigation
Members of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and two Apple employees showed up to the home of 22-year old Sergio Calderon after representatives of the tech giant told police that they had tracked the phone with its GPS to the address where Calderon lives after losing possession of a prototype device, believed to be the upcoming iPhone 5, at a San Francisco tequila bar, CNET reported last week.The search of Calderon's home and effects raised questions when Calderon told SF Weekly that six people who showed up at his door in July represented themselves as being SFPD officers, when, in fact, two of the six were members of Apple´s private security force.
Calderon told them he had no knowledge of the phone or its whereabouts. He did, however, acknowledge being at that bar the night the phone went missing. Police asked to search the house and told him that if he declined they would return with a search warrant, which Calderon then consented to.
SFPD spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield confirmed that police participated in the search, but claimed the officers never entered Calderon´s home. After Calderon agreed to the search, the policemen stepped aside and allowed Apple to go through his house, car, and computer.
Police Chief Greg Suhr told the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday that it isn´t uncommon for police to assist private investigators. “The reason we do civil standby is to make sure there isn´t a problem,” Suhr said, according to the Chronicle. “Whatever conversations the (Apple) employees had with the resident, I can´t say.”
Calderon told CNET that he´s “talking to an attorney,” but didn´t specify the reasons for the discussions.
Criminal defense attorneys in San Francisco say that allegations the SFPD attempted to intimidate him and his family into cooperating with the search by asking whether everyone living in the house was in the United States legally.
Such charges are worrisome if true, PC Magazine reports. Police aren´t supposed to try to obtain permission to search a home by putting someone under duress, said Ginny Walia, of Ginny Walia Law Offices.
Apple found itself in a similar situation last year with a prototype of the then-unreleased iPhone 4 that was lost in a bar in Redwood City and subsequently wound up in the hands of tech blog Gizmodo, which paid $5,000 for the device.
Two men have been charged with misappropriation of lost property and possession of stolen property, but Gizmodo escaped any legal action.
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