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SF Cops, Apple Employees Search Man's Home for iPhone

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 09, 2011 6:50 AM

Another lost Apple prototype sent investigators on an iPhone search in San Francisco in late July. But, did Apple security and the San Francisco Police Department violate any laws? The SFPD is now launching an investigation into the Apple home search.

The missing iPhone prototype was lost sometime in July at a tequila bar in San Francisco by an Apple employee. The lost phone was tracked to the residence of a man named Sergio Calderón.

Calderón says that six people showed up on his doorstep asking about the missing phone. He says that one of the men present said he was a SFPD officer, according to Ars Technica.

A statement released by the SFPD clarifies that two of the men present were Apple security. The other four were SFPD officers, according to CNN.

Calderón consented to the search of his home, but he said he thought that all of the men were police officers. Only the two Apple investigators are said to have participated in the search of Calderón's home - which turned up nothing, Ars Technica reports.

Calderón says the investigators who conducted the search also offered money to him if he returned the prototype. They also made threats against Calderón, asking if everybody who lived in the house was an American citizen, reports Ars Technica.

Are investigators allowed to threaten potential suspects like Calderón? Police are traditionally barred from using physical or psychological coercion when talking to suspects. They can, however, lie or trick suspects so long as it's non-coercive.

Threats aside, the Apple home search also raised questions about the SFPD's involvement. When Calderón consented to the iPhone search, he thought the Apple investigators were police officers. Maybe the SFPD should have been clearer about who was conducting the search?

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