Some have compared people’s zeal for Apple products to a religion. An incident connected to reports of a lost prototype of the iPhone 5 last summer suggests that Apple has also, on occasion, been taking the law into its own hands. Last July, six people with badges who declared themselves to be members of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) appeared at 22-year-old Sergio Calderón’s house. As San Francisco Police Department spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield now says, while ”three or four” of those people were SFPD officers, two were Apple security officials.
According to Calderón, the ”officers” asked him if he had been at Cava 22, a San Francisco bar where the iPhone 5 prototype had been lost and said that, using GPS, they had traced a lost iPhone to his house. Not only did some of the “officers” (the Apple security officials, says Dangerfield; they did not specifically say they were police officers) search Calderón’s home. They asked if everyone in his house was an American citizen and, says Calderón, ”said we were all going to get into trouble.”
Calderón also noted that none of the officers identified themselves as Apple employees. One offered him $300 and a “promise that the owner of the phone would not press charges, if he would return the device.” On leaving, one officer left him with a phone number which has been traced to Anthony Colon, an investigator employed at Apple.
Calderón is a US citizen and all of his family members have legal status. He said that he would not have allowed the two people to search his house if he had known they were not members of the SFPD.
In a possibly related development, Apple’s vice president of global security, John Theriault, is reported to have retired last week but those in the know are saying that the investigation about the search of Calderón’s home is behind his stepping down.
There’s still one more twist to what is a bizarre and disturbing incident that more than smacks of racial profiling , with the Apple security employees apparently presuming that Calderón and his family members were illegal immigrants. The SFPD say that the incident was never properly recorded in accordance with standard operating procedure — unless, of course, it has become standard procedure for police officers to help private investigators to conduct searches of citizens’ homes without a search warrant, when what’s being searched for is a super top-secret Apple product prototype.
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Photo by Yutaka Tsutano