As a follow-up to my posting yesterday concerning Apple's second loss of an iPhone prototype in a local bar, the SFPD seems to have reversed itself from an earlier statement by releasing the below explanation, which confirms that the police department was involved in a consensual search of a home within their jurisdiction:
September 2, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE ASSIST APPLE SECURITY
WITH THEIR LOST PROPERTY INVESTIGATION
After speaking with Apple representatives, we were given information which helped us determine what occurred. It was discovered that Apple employees called Mission Police station directly, wanting assistance in tracking down a lost item. Apple had tracked the lost item to a house located in the 500 block of Anderson Street. Because the address was in the Ingleside Police district Apple employees were referred to Officers in the Ingleside district. Four SFPD Officers accompanied Apple employees to the Anderson street home. The two Apple employees met with the resident and then went into the house to look for the lost item. The Apple employees did not find the lost item and left the house.
The Apple employees did not want to make an official report of the lost item.
COMMENT: Having spent the better part of my adult life in federal law enforcement, the truth in this matter appears to be elusive. Most police departments require a written complaint to initiate an investigation of matters that have not been observed by a law enforcement officer.
According to the police department's press statement, officers accompanied Apple investigators to the house that the latter suspected a missing iPhone to be located in, but the officers apparently did not enter the home because they did not have probable cause to do so. Hence, they facilitated the Apple employees to enter the house and conduct a search that produced no missing prototype.
A reasonable question is whether the SFPD has produced any reports on their assistance to Apple. If so, are these reports public records? Moreover, was Apple's justification for persuading the police to accompany its investigators to the house to motivate the "suspect" to agree to a search of the premises without a warrant?
The SFPD press statement indicates that Apple did not want to file a report that the prototype was missing. Another reasonable question is "why," although one could easily surmise why Apple did not want to acknowledge why proprietary property had been stolen in a bar...again.
Again, I would go back to my earlier comment that Apple apparently has deficiencies in keeping track of pre-release products, or, at a minimum, educating its staff on internal security protocols. Regardless, the employees who lost both prototypes hopefully have since been fired, or will there be a missing iPhone 6 prototype in the not too distant future?
As for the "suspect" who agreed to the search of his home when the SFPD and Apple investigators showed up at his door, what recourse does he have considering that Apple didn't find what they were looking for?