Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter. Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter.
Apple investigators claiming to be San Francisco police officers may have interrogated a man who was at the bar Cava 22 in late July, attempting to recover a lost iPhone prototype, reports SF Weekly. The publication spoke to the man, Sergio Calderón, who thinks that his home is the one referred to in the original story about a supposed lost iPhone.
Calderón contacted the publication to talk to them, claiming that he still doesn’t know anything about why his home was searched and that he was threatened by the men on an evening in July. At about 6 p.m., six people wearing badges of some sort showed up at his door and said, “Hey, Sergio, we’re from the San Francisco Police Department.”
They said that they had traced the lost iPhone to his home using GPS. The group, which consisted of two men and four women, never identified themselves as employees of Apple or say that they were in the hunt for an iPhone prototype.
Calderón, an American citizen who lives with multiple generations of family members, all of whom he said are staying in the U.S. legally, said one of the men also threatened his relatives about their immigration status. “One of the officers is like, ‘Is everyone in this house an American citizen?’ They said we were all going to get into trouble.'”
Anxious to cooperate, Calderón said, he let them search his car and house. He also gave them access to his computer, to see whether he had linked the phone to his hard drive or had information about it in his files. Failing to find the phone anywhere, he said one of the “officers” offered him $300 if he would return it.
“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, and they’ll give you $300,'” he recalled.
As the visitors left, one of them — a man named “Tony” — gave Calderón his phone number and asked him to call if he had further information about the lost phone. Calderón shared the man’s phone number with SF Weekly.
When the publication called the number, it was answered by an Anthony Colon, who told them that he is an employee of Apple but refused to say any more. There was a public profile on LinkedIn for Colon, which listed him as a former San Jose Police sergeant who is currently employed as a “senior investigator” at Apple. That profile has since been deleted.
According to Cnet, the phone apparently turned up on Craigslist, where it may have been sold for about $200. No details about the device are available either.
Apple is notoriously protective of iPhone prototypes, enclosing them in special containers for antenna testing, shrouding them in cases that obscure their shape when in public and testing new internal components in casings that mimic older iPhone designs.
Last year gadget blog Gizmodo purchased an iPhone 4 prototype lost at a bar in Redwood City by Apple employee Gray Powell for $5,000. After the site posted images of the phone and revealed the employee’s name, the phone was returned to Apple. A subsequent legal investigation was dropped against Gizmodo but continues against the two men responsible for delivering the phone to the site.
The SF police have told SF Weekly that they will investigate the matter. Calderón just wants to know what happened and who the people were that he let into his home.
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