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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lost iPhone 5 Prototype: SFPD Says It Has No Records of Investigation

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 3:15 PM

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Yesterday we related an interesting scoop that popped up on CNET: the tech-news site reported that a prototype of Apple's latest iPhone model had been lost in a San Francisco bar, echoing a similar incident last year that led to embarrassment for Apple and legal threats against the gadget blog Gizmodo, which purchased the lost iPhone 4 for $5,000.


Among other things, CNET reported that San Francisco police investigators, working with Apple personnel, had traced a recently lost iPhone 5 prototype to the home of a man in Bernal Heights, who denied possessing it or having any knowledge of it. The phone was never recovered.

There's just one problem: SFPD spokesman Officer Albie Esparza says no records exist of any such activity by SFPD inspectors.

"I talked to CNET" reporter Declan McCullagh, Esparza tells SF Weekly. "I don't know who his source is, but we don't have any record of any such an investigation going on at this point."


Esparza says no records of the visit to Bernal Heights by police officers -- which should be recorded in documentation per standard SFPD procedures -- exist at either Mission or Ingleside stations, at least one of which would have handled the incident. (Ingleside station covers Bernal Heights, while the phone was allegedly lost at Cava 22, a bar in the Mission.) Police dispatchers also have no records of any incident involving the address where the search for the phone supposedly took place, Esparza says.

Esparza says he related this information to CNET weeks ago, when McCullagh first called him on the story. So the site must be rather confident in the anonymous source "familiar with the investigation" on which it bases its account. 

It seems some questions are arising about whether that confidence was misplaced. Until Apple decides to comment on the alleged phone loss, which it so far has not done, the details of what happened will be hard to sort out.

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Peter Jamison

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