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Apple's Lost iPhone Sparks Internal Investigation

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Like Vic Mackey hauling in one-too-many perps beaten into oblivion, this missing iPhone has sparked an inquiry within a police department.

Following up the story it broke, CNet has learned that the San Francisco Police Department is launching an internal investigation to determine how officers could allow Apple employees to freely search a private citizen's home for a missing iPhone.

Last week, CNet revealed that in July Apple lost another iPhone prototype in a bar -- echoing the events that took place last year with an unreleased iPhone 4 model. But rather than eventually making its way into the hands of a tech blog, this prototype was traced from a tequila bar to the home of Bernal Heights resident Sergio Calderon. Apple notified the local authorities of where the device was traced to, and two staffers showed up on Calderon's doorstep with police in tow.

Now, here's where things get a little hinky.

The officers gave Calderon the option of allowing a search of his home at that time, or he could wait until the police returned with a warrant. Since he had no knowledge of the phone's whereabouts, Calderon consented to the search. However, it wasn't the police who conducted search -- it was the two Apple staffers. Lt. Troy Dangerfield of the SFPD confirmed that the officers never entered Calderon's residence, but rather allowed the two Cupertino employees to go through his home, car, and computer. In the meantime, the four officers stood outside.

But the Apple staffers never revealed to Calderon that they weren't members of the police department. Calderon assumed they were and told SF Weekly that he would never consent to a search had he known. Adding fuel to the fire, as the staffers searched his private property without a warrant, Calderon's immigration status was questioned.

Between the search and purported intimidation into consenting to the search, criminal defense attorneys call the allegations "worrisome if true." Ginny Walia, of Ginny Walia Law Offices, told CNet, "Police aren't supposed to try to obtain permission to search a home by putting someone under duress." However she and criminal defense attorney John Runfola agree that if nothing was found or taken during the search, "there might be little recourse for Calderon outside of filing a complaint with the police."

Dangerfield said he will be conducting interviews with all parties involved during the internal investigation.

At which point, we can only assume he tugged at his collar and professed the respect that he's been getting is wholly lacking.

(See also: Yahoo Staffers Despised Carol Bartz as CEO and Netflix Denies Shooting Itself in the Foot)

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