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Did Police Impersonators Try to Get iPhone Prototype?

Phone number left by reported police investigators leads to Apple employee.

The case of Apple's second lost iPhone prototype just got even weirder, with one man claiming that police impersonators demanded to search his home for the missing handset.

Sergio Calderón, a 22-year-old resident of San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood, told SF Weekly that four men and two women came to his home, claiming to be from the San Francisco Police Department. According to Calderón, the group flashed badges of some kind and said they'd traced a missing iPhone prototype to his apartment.

That's the same iPhone prototype that CNet reported missing earlier this week. An Apple employee had reportedly lost the phone at Cava 22, a bar in San Francisco's Mission District. Although CNet reported that police had searched a man's apartment in Bernal Heights, San Francisco police told PC Magazine that they had no knowledge of the incident, and that no police report was filed.

One possible explanation: Those visitors were pretending to be police officers.

Phone Number Traced to Apple Employee

Calderón said the group threatened to call immigration on his relatives who were also staying at the apartment, although Calderón said the relatives were all staying in the U.S. legally. Still, Calderón let the visitors search his home and his car, and gave them access to his computer. The group also reportedly offered $300 to Calderón in exchange for the iPhone prototype. Finding nothing, the group left, but one of the men left his phone number in case Calderón wanted to share any more information.

That number led to an Apple employee, Anthony Colon, who confirmed that he worked for Apple but declined to comment further when reached by SF Weekly.

"This is something that's going to need to be investigated now," SFPD spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield told SF Weekly. "If this guy is saying that the people said they were SFPD, that's a big deal."

California Penal Code states that impersonating a police officer is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. PCWorld has asked the San Francisco Police Department for further comment.

History Repeats?

This appears to be the second time an Apple employee has lost an iPhone prototype at a bar. Last year, Apple engineer Gray Powell left an early version of an iPhone 4 at a bar in Redwood City, California. The gadget blog Gizmodo then bought the phone from 21 year-old Brian Hogan for $5,000, and published photos of the prototype. Hogan and another suspect, Sage Wallower, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft charges Thursday in San Francisco.

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