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Did Apple Impersonate Police To Recover the Lost iPhone 5? 233

zacharye writes "This whole lost iPhone 5 prototype story just got whole lot more interesting. According to SF Weekly, six investigators claiming to be members of the San Francisco police department descended upon one Bernal Heights, San Francisco man's home in search of a lost iPhone 5 prototype that CNET originally reported had been left in a bar. The scary part? The SFPD does not seem to be aware of such an investigation. Instead, it appears as though they may have actually been members of Apple's security team allegedly impersonating police officers." So far this claim seems to be developing solely through media communications; in order for the SFPD to start an investigation, the man whose house was searched would need to speak with the police directly. Update: 09/03 12:14 GMT by S : A later report indicates police were present, but they stood outside while Apple employees searched the house. No police report was filed because Apple wanted it kept a secret.
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Did Apple Impersonate Police To Recover the Lost iPhone 5?

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday September 02, 2011 @04:36PM (#37290936)

    Ha, the San Francisco Police Department WISHES they were as powerful as Apple security. Half the security guys at Apple have licenses to kill, and a pretty good portion of them are ninjas.

    • Fruit Ninjas?
      • Well, I guess that self-defense class will finally pay off.

        • Ooh, ooh, ooh; want to learn how to defend yourself against pointed sticks, do we? Getting all high and mighty, eh? Fresh fruit not good enough for you, eh? Well let me tell you something my lad! When you're walking home tonight and some great homicidal maniac comes after YOU with a bunch of loganberries, don't come cryin' to me!
      • World of Warcraft loot ninjas.
      • Having seen the movie Yellow Submarine, I fully believe in Apple Boppers.

        "Open the door! Steve Jobs' Apple Police! Or we'll make fruit salad out of you. Also, we have Axe Cop with us!"

    • On a serious note, impersonating any police officer is a BFD! As in, the employee will be facing jail time and the company fined.

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday September 02, 2011 @04:50PM (#37291112)

        This is Apple we're talking about. No one will do shit about it.

        And I'm being serious in that part.

      • Assuming of course that Apple doesn't go in and provide them with the absolute best legal defense money can buy...
        Seems more likely that they will simply discredit the guy who is making the claim that one of Apple's representatives were impersonating a police officer.
        Plus, you gotta think about it from the simple perspective that they have iPhones, so it's not like their exact physical location isn't logged at all times to show *exactly* where their employees were at the time of this alleged act.
      • by Surt ( 22457 )

        Well, they'd have to prove the impersonation, and without corroboration, it'll be one guy's (The homeowner) claimed recollection against more than one guy's claimed recollections (the officer impersonatorS). And then for the company to be fined, they'd have to further prove that the company directed them to do this. A company isn't automatically responsible for any action some rogue employee takes.

        • A company isn't automatically responsible for any action some rogue employee takes.

          True. If he went rogue to save his own ass. But if he was directed and had the e-mails to prove it, both him and the company would be liable. Even if the company instructed him to do something illegal, the individual is still held accountable as well.

          The closest i've came to witnessing this first hand is when a co-worker of mine (many years go) was instructed to illegally dump UPS batteries and old CRT monitors. They didn't w

          • by Surt ( 22457 )

            He'd have a good case against them for wrongful termination. Could make some good money from it if it has been less than 3 years.

          • My dad has been involved in that exact scenario, except on a much, much larger scale. He was in charge of a number of sea-going vessels that normally carried asphalt and oil-based products. On one voyage, a ship was brought in to carry grain for charity to Bangladesh. En route, some of the grain was contaminated by leaking fuel oil. The president of the company told my dad that he didn't want to pay the $130,000 to properly dispose of the contaminated grain and instructed my dad to just dump it in the o
      • On a serious note, impersonating any police officer is a BFD! As in, the employee will be facing jail time and the company fined.

        Which is exactly why you shouldn't believe this story until there's some actual proof that it really happened.

        Don't ever forget that Apple-Hate sells ad views.

      • If that's what happened. What we have so far is an unsubstantiated report from a guy, that hasn't pressed charges, who supposedly had a stolen/lost iPhone prototype of which no trace can be found anywhere and for which no police report was filed. The whole thing sounds fishy.

    • Being heavily pumped Wall Street Wonder Bubble and having newly assigned crap-MBA CEO they might assume that they can do whatever they want and expect impunity.
  • by bigsexyjoe ( 581721 ) on Friday September 02, 2011 @04:38PM (#37290942)
    This is hilarious! Why do they give out these phones anyway? Besides, Apple is a religion. The security team should have impersonated priests to get the phone back.
    • Apple is a cult. Android is a religion. Here's the difference:

      Apple Sheeple: "I want to be like other Apple users!"

      Android Sheeple: "Apple fans are the enemy!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 02, 2011 @04:40PM (#37290974)

    There's a reason the SFPD doesn't know about it. It never happened. The entire incident, from the loss to the "search" is a story designed to generate hype for the iPhone 5.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by icebike ( 68054 )

      More likely, Mr Sergio Calderon realized this is the perfect time for a sequel to the iPhone 4 found-in-a-bar story and simply made the whole thing up, and Apple had nothing to do with the story at all.

      There isn't a shred of proof the visit or the search ever happened.

      I'm pretty sure Apple would come up with something more clever than this juvenile stunt which serves go give them a black eye rather than build demand for the iPhone 5.

      • Awww that's a pity. It kinda hits all my cyberpunk buttons, I was just about ready to jack in and do a netrun for the latest blueprints. Sure the rest of the group may have been sitting around twiddling their thumbs for half an hour, but I call that a feature.

      • There isn't a shred of proof the visit or the search ever happened.

        How did Calderon get the persona phone number of the Apple Security guy?

        • by icebike ( 68054 )

          Apple's own web site?

          No business card. He just had a number.

      • My thinking exactly. The "men in black"-type story trips all my BS-detectors. I'd like to see some evidence instead of "This guy said ..."

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      There's a reason the SFPD doesn't know about it. It never happened. The entire incident, from the loss to the "search" is a story designed to generate hype for the iPhone 5.

      Makes me shudder to contemplate what Exxon might get up to someday to create demand for their products. Actually, Apple once had an executive with expertise in selling a product the world doesn't actually need, rather than a product that fuels its own demand, and that didn't work out so well.

      It's a nice marketing ruse that plays on cor

  • by cyberchondriac ( 456626 ) on Friday September 02, 2011 @04:45PM (#37291036) Journal
  • by csumpi ( 2258986 ) on Friday September 02, 2011 @04:48PM (#37291088)

    - this Apple employee "lost" an iPhone5 at a bar
    - this undercover Apple employee "found it" and listed it on craigslist
    - this undercover Apple employee bought it for $200
    - this Apple employee in a uniform picked it up
    - the whole internet ran wee-wee-wee silliness about it

    It's all part of the hype machine's advertising campaign. You guys have all been fooled.

  • Sadly, this is just a small hint of what's to come. I don't expect anything other than full-on corporate armies, each waging espionage and intellectual (and other) warfare against one another, to be the future of the US. Get used to it. Soon Apples Security team WILL be the police dept. :(
    (and every other company with the money/man-power).

    • Corporate police forces are not new - some railway companies in the United States have had their own private police forces next to forever. And Apple probably figures they're more important than Burlington Northern - Santa Fe.

      • The difference is that those security forces only work on railroad property or next to it under specific conditions. It's also a side effect of most of their infrastructure being in the middle of nowhere.

        That being said, if the reports prove to be accurate, somebody is going to prison, impersonating an officer is a serious crime.

      • Anyone interested in finding a good(bad?) example of corporate police forces should google "pinkerton coal miners". Interesting stuff there if you like history.

    • by Surt ( 22457 )

      This isn't new. MS corporate security has carried full auto since the 90s.

  • by _0xd0ad ( 1974778 ) on Friday September 02, 2011 @04:50PM (#37291108) Journal

    The number they gave him was of an Apple employee whose title is "senior investigator" and who previously worked for the San Jose PD.

    Maybe they were real cops. Maybe he called in an unofficial favor...

  • The guy admits he was at Cava. Just how did Apple find his house?

    Sure, the fake cop thing is troubling.

    But still, how did Apple discover the location of some random guy who had drinks at Cava?

    Apple == BAD? Maybe.

    But one wonders if in fact this random guy who had drinks at Cava was in fact at one time had the stolen/ lost phone?

    Otherwise, how would Apple Thugs found his address?

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      Otherwise, how would Apple Thugs found his address?

      Really? Seriously??? GPS? Find my iPhone? Have you been living under a rock?

    • But still, how did Apple discover the location of some random guy who had drinks at Cava?

      Supposedly, they traced the phone to the guy's house. They spoke to the owner of the house who told the investigators that he had been at Cava but he didn't take a phone. He allowed them to search the house and they found no phone.

      Considering the accuracy of the iPhone AGPS, perhaps they should have knocked on his neighbor's door...

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      umm. Do you think that just maybe that any prototype iPhone might just have GPS and 24/7 tracking of location turned on? Just maybe?....

    • They didn't find the phone there. Maybe they pulled a favor at Cava and got a creditcard receipt, then located that CC number in their own internal creditcard database from iTunes. Even if they only had last-four digits, there can't be that many matches in the area.

  • Here's what they look like: http://i.imgur.com/CmLXu.jpg [imgur.com]

  • so who will take the fall for this?

  • A number of police departments in my area permit moonlighting by their cops. In some cases, this just means security in front of the local dance club. But some of them make pretty good coin working security for local companies or detective agencies.

    Those may have been real stinkin' badges.

  • It only matters whether they had a search warrant. If so, it was legal. Search warrants do not have to be served by the police force having jurisdiction over the property being searched. For search warrants, it's the jurisdiction of the judge signing it that matters, so a California state judge can't issue a warrant for a property in New Jersey, for example. And if the guy didn't ask to see the search warrant, he made a big mistake.

    It doesn't matter whether they were SFPD. They could have been a nearby

    • by Ixokai ( 443555 )

      Er, one correction: it only matters if they had a search warrent and /forced the search/.

      Police, investigators, anyone, are entirely within their rights to ask to search anything even if they have no right to demand a search.

      Public or private. Someone can walk up to your door and say, "I think my kid is in your house, can I look around?"

      They are under no obligation to prove any level of valid basis for that assertion -- if they ask you for permission and you say yes, they can search your house. Because you

  • Non-cops, ex-cops, bad guys -- impersonating an officer has gone on forever, especially among detectives and security guys. You almost have to give ex-cops a break, acting coplike is probably a tough habit to break.

    Generally speaking, white, middle class people do exactly what they're told when a "cop" tells them what to do.

    I did a ride-along with a friend who is a cop and it was almost hilarious. Upstanding white people did EXACTLY what I suggested, in a "Is-this-OK?" manner, despite the fact that the co

  • If the homeowner let a bunch of asshats into their house to perform a search without a warrant signed by a judge

    Badge or no badge

    The owner is an idiot.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/09/iphone_5_apple_police.php [sfweekly.com]

    San Francisco Police Department spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield now tells SF Weekly that "three or four" SFPD officers accompanied two Apple security officials

    So, now we can stop with the Apple FUD, right?

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter