Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

Summary: San Francisco police said that the department worked with Apple investigators to track down an iPhone prototype. No report was filed though.

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The San Francisco Police Department said Saturday that it assisted Apple investigators in their search for a missing iPhone 5 prototype.

On Friday, it appeared that Apple investigators conducted a search without police and may have impersonated law enforcement officers. SF Weekly reported that the SFPD had no record of the Apple lost iPhone. CNET reported that the iPhone prototype was missing earlier this week.

There's a reason for the lack of recordkeeping: Apple didn't want to make an official report. If Apple filed a report it would be the equivalent of publicly acknowledging it lost a prototype phone.

The SFPD said in a statement:

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.

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Topics: Smartphones, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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35 comments
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  • Since when do police let civilians do searches?

    And when did it become ok for the police to do work 'off the record'?<br><br>This case gets more and more bizarre by the moment. A police officer showing up at your door is one thing - and for most people, a scary situation even if you're entirely innocent. Having them show up with a couple of Apple employees - acting as escorts - is going to give far more legal authority to those employees than exists.<br><br>It would be bad enough to let the police in without search warrants - it's an order of magnitude worse that civilians *with no legal power or authority* be allowed to search someone's home acting as would appearing to be agents OF the police.<br><br>If there isn't an investigation on this by the SFPD's internal affairs, then they are not to be trusted in any situation.
    TheWerewolf
    • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

      @TheWerewolf

      Consider the following:-

      Your kids kick a ball over the fence, you go ask if you can go look for it, the owner says "Yes", that gives you the right to enter the property and perform a search.

      Are you suggesting some sort of police state requiring a warrant to perform ANY search where THE OWNER HAS GIVEN PERMISSION?

      Enough of the paranoid garbage already.
      bannedagain
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @bannedagain <br>Since WHEN corporate can do this in the name of police???<br>Since WHEN police do not even make REPORT of it???<br>Since WHEN police can enter private property "assist" in search and then DO NOT write REPORT???<br><br>And you missed point that police is given some "trust", Apple employees could have expoited this "trust" to enter with police. They DID NOT called them selfs Apple employees. This private person could have belived they where police officers as well (or any other goverment institution)!!!
        przemoli
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @bannedagain

        The way I understood it the Apple people went in and searched. Not the police.

        "The two Apple employees met with the resident and then went into the house to look for the lost item."

        That in itself is just wrong.
        Test Subject
      • The cultip cooperated voluntary, so what is wrong about it? Especially, ...

        @Test Subject: ... since police officially assisted the search. So nothing wrong and no impersonation.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @DeRSSS

        No where did it say the police assisted in the search only that they accompanied the Apple employees there. I myself never said anything about impersonation but when corporations can search another person's residence that is wrong. That is no different than having a random person picked off the street to search another person's home. Police can search with permission or a warrent but in no case should anyone feel compelled to let a civilian search their place.
        Test Subject
      • Your full of it. Not even close to the same thing. Apologist.

        @bannedagain <br><br>The situation first off, didn't take place outdoors in a yard. IT TOOK PLACE IN A RESIDENCE. Massive massive difference.<br><br>Secondly, you put the whole situation in a reverse order by saying YOUR KIDS kick a ball over the fence, so in this situation of course YOU would know the innocence of your request. It completely changes the dynamics of a persons opinion about the situation.<br><br>Thirdly, you have brought up an event where the police are not involved at all!! Its massively different, not even an analogy in the same ball park and so far out of whack with what actually happened you come across as an Apple apologist of the worst worst possible kind.<br><br>As it turns out, any near close analogy is going to sound more like EXACTLY what happened and that is six people showed up at this guys door, at least one of them identified them as the police looking for a missing item that had been traced to this residence. One of them asks if they can come in and look around, search the house quite literally and it turns out the two who went in were not police but the very people who reported the missing item.<br><br>And why didn't the police go in??? Easy. They didn't have a warrant and couldn't get a warrant due to the extraordinarily flimsy evidence they had to base a warrant on. But hey, you agree to let some citizen in, even if you are mistakenly doing it based on the notion that its a police officer and you don't know your rights, well in they go and as it turns out its a great way for the police to subvert YOUR rights by way of having someone else take side door left so to speak.<br><br>It doesn't matter how much lipstick you try and plaster across the lips of that pig, its still wallowing in the mud and its a mess.<br><br>You Apple apologists really have to get a grip on reality. Some of these post trying to excuse this behavior are downright embarrassing to read. Probably because they seem to be written with such sincerity, it makes one wonder how someone who can read and write and operate a computer doesn't have the basic common sense to see at least how underhanded an plain lousy this kind of corporate behavior is.
        Cayble
      • You did read the word 'voluntary', right? If so, then what it is wrong with

        @Test Subject: ... what happened?

        And, "police assisted" and "police accompanied" is not much different at all, especially since 2000 bill for IP protection allows exactly this scheme. So what happened was not only correct in terms of ethics and respect of private property (as it was voluntarily), but also according to the law.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @DeRSSS
        Police accompanied them to the home. Not inside the home where the search took place. The Apple employees were referred to as police when they were not. The police did not enter the residence. It basically comes down to a corporation doing a search of a private residence.
        Test Subject
      • Again: what part of 'voluntary agreed to allow the search' makes anything

        @Test Subject: ... wrong?

        Anyone can do anything in anyone's house with owner's voluntary permission.

        Huge "evil" utility corporations "invade" private homes every day around the world -- and no one says it is wrong, because owners voluntary allow their staff to enter and check the tubes (or whatever they need).
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @DeRSSS

        They are not searching the residence. They are maintaining infrastructure. They are also not passing themselves off as police.
        Test Subject
      • Did not you just denied you mean 'impersonation' just couple posts above?

        @Test Subject: And now you conveniently jump there since there was nothing wrong in the search as it was done under voluntary agreement with the owner.

        And, again, the gossip about impersonation is hearsay, as police officially confirmed they assisted Apple.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @bannedagain No, it doesn't. It give you permission to retrieve the ball, nothing more. Having several police officers in attendance when you knock (you would knock, wouldn't you??), snacks of intimidation.
        Lazarus439
    • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

      @TheWerewolf "And when did it become ok for the police to do work 'off the record'?"

      What can I say, $70B is a hell lot of money, is it not possible for apple to have spilled $s some by mistake into SFPD account...a probe will arise soon...
      touqeer9045
    • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

      @TheWerewolf I agree in part, what the heck were the police doing, going to the house without a direct complaint or a submitted theft report?

      That said, if the owners of the property had nothing to hide and *explicitly* allowed the Apple employees to search the hosue, there is nothing wrong there. If they bullied the owners into letting them in, against their will and without a search warrant (which would have required a police report and a judge to sign off on it), then it is *very* wrong.

      If there was no reported theft, wouldn't this come under waste of police time or inappropriate use of the uniform or something?
      wright_is
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @wright_is<br>If I am the property's owner, I may not have anything to hide from the police. But I might have some things that I don't want any one to know and it could be exposed.<br><br>Besides, if a police man comes to your home, *explicitly* makes a request that he would like to look for something confidential, even though you do not like it, you will let him search. This is against your will, yet you will allow the search.
        spicycheeks
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @spicycheeks That isn't what I said. I said, if the owner gave there permission, then there is nothing wrong here... If they had refused and Apple just barged in, that would be another matter.

        If I didn't want them searching, I'd tell them to come back with a search warrant.
        wright_is
      • As someone who knows about law...

        @wright_is <br><br>I can tell you what likely happened and why.<br><br>Apple shows up at the police station (so to speak), tells them we think we have an address of a guy, who picked up a prototype iPhone 5 lost at a bar. The police say, well we cant get you in without a warrant, you ended up with problems the last time you used a search warrant to search for a lost phone, we doubt a judge will sign a warrant for this, evidence is too flimsy.<br><br>The Apple guys ask, or perhaps having been given some legal advice already, suggest what can be done. In any event we know generally what happened afterward so we know someone at some point, either the police or Apple employees suggested that if we show at the door with police and badges and all, the guy may let "You Apple Guys" in and your private citizens, you could search with his consent without a warrant.<br><br>So they show, they don't make it plain to this guy that the people coming in to do the search are not police officers and that he has every right to keep them out of his house, even the police without a warrant. All this guy sees is some badges, doesn't want trouble particularly as its his position he did nothing wrong, so he lets the searchers in, thinking its the police, not understanding his rights, figuring resistance on his part may be futile, or at the very least create more trouble for him.<br><br>The searchers come in, for whatever reason they are so sure this guy is hiding the iPhone they make some loosely veiled threats toward the residents of the house pertaining to immigration issues figuring that now they have scared the guy into letting them in they might as well try scaring him again and maybe he will cough up the phone to make them go away. He doesn't, they eventually leave after a good search.<br><br><br><br>The police realize after that the story is making the news, its not something they really want out there because its pretty clear they had no warrant and no reason to attend the residence other then to provide intimidation factor hoping it may provide enough look of authority to influence the home owner to open up and let the Apple guys in. <br><br>It worked, but now the story is out it leaves the police having to explain exactly what their intention and motivation for becoming involved in this whole debacle was to begin with.<br><br>This is not good police, or corporate practice at all. In fact at best it skirts the way the law is supposed to work and may have been quite illegal from some perspective.<br><br>Example. Your neighbor goes to the police and complains of a smell of a grow operation lingering around your house, says he is sure your growing marijuana in the house. The police say, hey, we cant get a search warrant based on that, but what we could do is show at the guys door with you, tell him there is a complaint about the smell and his place needs to be searched, but YOU Mr. Neighbor will go in and do the search because as officers, we without a warrant cannot. If they guy is intimidated and lets you in and says you can search, you go for it!! Be sure to tell us cops about everything you see that might be illegal.

        Its very much the same kind of situation. And I for one dont see anything proper about it. If this is seen as appropriate behavior by the police then they will be trying it all the time in the future because on the occasions where you can make it work...who needs a warrant to search! Ha. <br><br>There is no way to justify this. Cut and dried.
        Cayble
      • RE: Lost iPhone 5 saga: SF police say they assisted Apple on investigation

        @wright_is The fact that there were police officers in attendance, and identified themselves as such, even without explicitly stating that the two Apple employees were not police, make all the difference. While I might - or might not - elect to allow police officers to look for something, there is no way I would ever allow someone with NO official standing to do so. Accounts from the resident I've read elsewhere clearly indicated he thought all six people were police officers and that there were several coercive, if not threatening, statement made about the immigration status of some of the home's residents.

        The fact that there were police officers involved is completly inacceptable.
        Lazarus439
  • This is the same old story: media reported tabloid gossip about ...

    'impresonating', that is it.
    DDERSSS