Earlier this week, CNet caused quite the splash when it exclusively revealed that Apple had lost yet another iPhone prototype in a bar in San Francisco. The site's source said that the phone had been lost at a tequila bar named Cava 22 and that Apple had contacted police, desperate to recover the device. However, while the CNet report did say that SF police had said no police report had been filed, it seems other details of the story are now being thrown into question thanks to statements from the SFPD.
The original CNet story reported that Apple had contacted police regarding the phone and company personnel had accompanied the police to a house in Bernal Heights. According to the story, this house was searched, with permission from the owner, by police. However, SFPD spokesman Officer Albie Esparza told SF Weekly that standard procedure would mean there would be a record if that had happened but there are no records to suggest any such activity. Furthermore, SF Weekly cites Esparza as saying he relayed this information to CNet's Declan McCullagh weeks ago.
CNet says its source is 'familiar with the investigation' but has not commented on Officer Albie Esparza's remarks to SF Weekly. The site has also not offered any explanation as to why it ran the story when it was supposedly told 'weeks ago' that there was no police records to support McDullagh's source's story. CNet's source is likely a trusted one (it would have to be for the site to run the story with no evidence from SFPD). However, it's possible the source's own information was bad. Another theory is that the whole thing was cooked up by Apple in an effort to drum up some excitement for the rumored upcoming launch of iPhone 5. Hey, anything is possible, right?
[UPDATE]SF Weekly is running a new story, this time with comments from San Francisco Police Department spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield. Dangerfield says that three or four plainclothes SFPD officers accompanied two Apple security officials to a search of a Bernal Heights man's home. The officers waited outside while Apple security officials searched the man's home, car and computer.
Sergio Calderón, the 22-year-old living at the house, told SF Weekly that six people with badges showed up to ask about the phone and while none of them identified themselves as working for Apple, they offered him $300 for the safe return of the phone and said the owner would not press charges if he gave it back. He said that only two of them entered his home, but says they never identified themselves as Apple employees. He says that he assumed they were SFPD because they were with the group that identified themselves as SFPD. Calderón says he would not have let them inside his house had he known they were not police officers. They are also said to have threatened Calderón, asking him if he and everyone else in the house were all American citizens. One of the men left a phone number with him that SF Weekly has since traced to Anthony Colon, an investigator employed by Apple.
Dangerfield says he plans to ask Calderón more questions about the incident. He did comment on why SFPD spokesman Officer Albie Esparza initially said there was no police involvement in the incident.