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Apple accused of impersonating police during effort to recover lost iPhone 5 prototype

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:27PM EST

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 confirmed the investigators weren’t police officers at all. Instead, it appears as though they may have actually been members of Apple’s security team allegedly impersonating police officers. Read on for more.

UPDATE: The San Francisco Police Department has now confirmed to SFWeekly that it did in fact assist Apple security with the search. An update can be found here.

The officers in question claimed that they had traced the iPhone 5 to the man’s house using the device’s GPS feature. “They threatened me,” Sergio Calderon, the 22 year old man whose house was searched, said. “We don’t know anything about it, still, to this day,” he told SF Weekly. “They made it seem like they were on the phone with the owner of the phone, and they said ‘The person’s not pressing charges, they just want it back. They’ll give you $300,” he added.

Earlier on Friday, we reported that San Francisco’s police department did not currently have an open investigation into a lost iPhone prototype, despite CNET’s claims to the contrary. “This is something that’s going to need to be investigated now,” Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield of the San Francisco police department told SF Weekly. “If this guy is saying that the people said they were SFPD, that’s a big deal.” Is Apple running a secret police force? Here’s where it gets really scary.

Reportedly, the police force that did investigate Calderon offered him a number to call if he found any more information on the device. SF Weekly called the number and Anthony Colon, an Apple employee answered the call. Colon is currently employed by Apple as a “senior investigator,” and he once worked for the San Jose police department.

It’s unclear where the story will turn from here, but it sounds like Apple certainly played a role in the incident. The San Francisco Police Department stated that it would only launch an investigation into the matter if Calderon decides to speak with them directly.