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SFPD now says plainclothes officers did join in search for lost iPhone 5 prototype

post #1 of 71
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After initially denying that the San Francisco Police Department was involved in searching the house of a man suspected of possessing a lost iPhone 5 prototype, a spokesman for the department has confirmed that plainclothes officers visited, but did not enter, the residence with Apple security officials.

The back-and-forth saga over an iPhone 5 prototype that was reportedly lost in a bar in July took on new twists after the San Francisco Police Department first denied, then confirmed, its involvement in the search for the device. SFPD spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfeld told SF Weekly on Friday that "three or four" officers accompanied two Apple security officials to a home in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of the city.

Though a separate spokesperson had originally been unable to find a record of the investigation, Dangerfeld confirmed the visit to 22-year-old Sergio Calderón's house after speaking with Apple and the captain of the Ingleside police station. The police officers "did not go inside the house," instead standing outside while Apple's employees searched Calderón's house, car and computer.

"Apple came to us saying that they were looking for a lost item, and some plainclothes officers responded out to the house with them," Dangerfield said. "My understanding is that they stood outside...They just assisted Apple to the address."

For his part, Calderón claims that he was led to believe that all of the visitors were police officers, as none of them identified themselves as working for Apple. "When they came to my house, they said they were SFPD," he said. "I thought they were SFPD. That's why I let them in."

Calderón also alleged he was threatened by the police during the visit. "One of the officers is like, 'Is everyone in this house an American citizen?' They said we were all going to get into trouble," he said.

But, Dangerfeld said that there did not appear to be any evidence that Apple's security team had falsely represented themselves as police officers. "I don't have any indication of that. I'm not going to go there," he said, adding that he plans to speak with Calderón about the incident.

Details of the missing iPhone prototype first emerged earlier this week. Apple reportedly scrambled to recover the device once it discovered it was missing, using GPS to track the prototype from the Cava22 bar (pictured below) in the Mission to Bernal Heights.



The incident contains an eery resemblance to last year's drama over an iPhone 4 prototype, which was left in a bar in Redwood City and eventually sold to a publication. Police have charged two individuals with misappropriation of lost property and possession of stolen property. However, Gawker Media, which reportedly paid $5000 to obtain the device, will not face charges.
post #2 of 71
I guess even AI along with everyone else is racing to the bottom of the sewers of zero-class journalism in terms of being the first to post anything about this saga.

Why not simply wait till the FACTS come out instead of shooting from the hip? It'll save face later.
post #3 of 71
This sounds more plausible.
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post #4 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

SFPD spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfeld told SF Weekly on Friday that "three or four" officers accompanied two Apple security officials to a home in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of the city.

they can send "three or four" officers to accompany apple employees on a search for a missing piece of property, but i have people shoving wine bottles up their butts outside my apartment and it takes an act of congress to get the police to show up. guess next time i'll just tell them that the guy is stuffing an iphone up there.
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post #5 of 71
The next twist in the story is that it's not Apple, but rather Ford with a new Mustange in New Zealand instead of SF.
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post #6 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This sounds more plausible.

Well... the first version (or was that the second) sounded really far fetched. This does sound more real.

I'm waiting for the story to come out that Calderon works for Google security...
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post #7 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I guess even AI along with everyone else is racing to the bottom of the sewers of zero-class journalism in terms of being the first to post anything about this saga.

Why not simply wait till the FACTS come out instead of shooting from the hip? It'll save face later.

The original SFWeekly story is here and adds some additional information to the AI blog.
http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/...ple_police.php
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post #8 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This sounds more plausible.

Well, it isn't really more or less plausible.

Given the facts, until the SFPD came clean, all anyone knew was that someone showed up at this guys house, representing themselves as police and requesting access to search the home. Since the police formally denied any involvement, it only left two possible conclusions, if the police were being honest and factual (turns out they weren't). Either Sergio was lying, which turns out not to be the case, or someone that was not the police said they were the police.

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post #9 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post

they can send "three or four" officers to accompany apple employees on a search for a missing piece of property, but i have people shoving wine bottles up their butts outside my apartment and it takes an act of congress to get the police to show up. guess next time i'll just tell them that the guy is stuffing an iphone up there.

Exactly....These were plain clothes police officers. So it seems they were not just beat cops but detectives So they were a higher pay grade just to investigate a lost phone!!!
So how many times do you think that happens? If you or I reported we lost our phones do you think they would send detectives out to investigate?
Then to top it off no lost or stolen property was found.

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post #10 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

Exactly....These were plain clothes police officers. So it seems they were not just beat cops but detectives So they were a higher pay grade just to investigate a lost phone!!!
So how many times do you think that happens? If you or I reported we lost our phones do you think they would send detectives out to investigate?
Then to top it off no lost or stolen property was found.

There is a difference between a prototype and a regular phone you can buy. It's like how there's a difference between confidential plans and a stack of paper. They both might be made of the same materials-paper-but one is obviously more valuable than the other.
post #11 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qualia View Post

There is a difference between a prototype and a regular phone you can buy. It's like how there's a difference between confidential plans and a stack of paper. They both might be made of the same materials-paper-but one is obviously more valuable than the other.

you are correct......there is a difference. But it is still a lost phone......it this was HTC or Samsung and the police gave their lost prototype this much attention most here would be complaining that they were getting too much police attention. That it was taking the police away from real crimes.....
C'mon you know that's a correct statement.

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post #12 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

Exactly....These were plain clothes police officers. So it seems they were not just beat cops but detectives So they were a higher pay grade just to investigate a lost phone!!!
So how many times do you think that happens? If you or I reported we lost our phones do you think they would send detectives out to investigate?
Then to top it off no lost or stolen property was found.

Of course your publicly available device isn't going to get any priority, but devices that can cost a company millions of dollars will. It's not just Apple or the iPhone but any company that reports something that could lead to corporate espionage. Sure, the guy who took it wasn't working for Samsung, just in the right place at the right time, but that doesn't mean it wont end up being a part of a larger problem.
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post #13 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

That it was taking the police away from real crimes.....
C'mon you know that's a correct statement.

1) How much money needs to be lost before it becomes a real crime to you?

2) It sounds like you are picturing the entire SF police force running aroun like Keystone Cops looking for an iPhone prototype? \
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post #14 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Either Sergio was lying, which turns out not to be the case, or someone that was not the police said they were the police.

Or one or more of the police identified themselves as police and Sergio assumed wrongly that all six of them were police (which is probably what the ex-policeman Apple employee was counting on).
post #15 of 71
This "lost phone" could be worth a hundred million dollars in lost revenue. If the SFPD aren't sending officers out to help try and find something worth a hundred million dollars, then they're not doing their jobs.
post #16 of 71
It's funny how the iPhone 5 is the most anticipated phone ever, yet the select few who get to test it out consists of at least one complete drunken moron. You simply don't go around losing Apple phone prototypes. Unless you happened to be held up at gunpoint by members of a Mexican drug cartel wielding machine guns, then there's simply no excuse.

The new CEO should come down hard on the absent minded and forgetful employee and show everybody who's in charge. What would Steve do?
post #17 of 71
Anybody can see that Apple strong armed this guy by threatening him and impersonating police officers as they searched his house!!! You can't search anyone's home! No, you cannot do that. This is not the USSR in 1975 (or Russia today). It's America and you can't come into a home acting like you're a cop. People go to jail for this. It's called impersonating a police officer and it carries prison time. The idiot Apple "security official" is an ex cop. Probably a good reason he's not a cop anymore. He certainly knew they were breaking the law. But Apple is worse than big brother and they can strong arm the police. They have more money than the US mint and the arrogance of Apple is certainly obvious here. This cannot get brushed aside as Apple will try to do. If it does it's proof that you can buy anything you want if you are rich and powerful. I doubt that the cops were really there,standing outside,because they denied it in the beginning. They denied it because it was the truth. Then Apple placed a call and suddenly the cops were "actually there but only outside". This is wrong and it needs to be opened up in the major press like it would be if it were anyone else other than Apple. How would you like it if a company, any company, did this to you? Needs to go to the DA for prosecution.
post #18 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeos View Post

Anybody can see that Apple strong armed this guy by threatening him and impersonating police officers as they searched his house!!! You can't search anyone's home! No, you cannot do that. This is not the USSR in 1975 (or Russia today). It's America and you can't come into a home acting like you're a cop. People go to jail for this. It's called impersonating a police officer and it carries prison time. The idiot Apple "security official" is an ex cop. Probably a good reason he's not a cop anymore. He certainly knew they were breaking the law. But Apple is worse than big brother and they can strong arm the police. They have more money than the US mint and the arrogance of Apple is certainly obvious here. This cannot get brushed aside as Apple will try to do. If it does it's proof that you can buy anything you want if you are rich and powerful. I doubt that the cops were really there,standing outside,because they denied it in the beginning. They denied it because it was the truth. Then Apple placed a call and suddenly the cops were "actually there but only outside". This is wrong and it needs to be opened up in the major press like it would be if it were anyone else other than Apple. How would you like it if a company, any company, did this to you? Needs to go to the DA for prosecution.

Sure it is legal to search a person's house - if you are an officer of the law and have either just-cause OR a warrant. Most people think that a warrant is to protect the rights of the person being searched - wrong - it is a legal waiver of any wrong doing on the part of the official doing the search. Meaning that if the result is the officer was wrong - then the warrant effectively says no harm - no foul - and you have basically no legal recourse to do anything about it.

On the other hand if the officer comes to the door and asks to search or breaks down the door - even under just cause - and he is wrong - then you can sue for damages etc.

I am not a lawyer or police officer - so I may be getting that not 100% legally accurate - but the idea is that many people do not understand the way our legal system works.

If there was no official police involvement - it could be the ex-cop calling a couple of buddies to show up and say SFPD - we need to look around - and then remain outside themselves so that they do not have to do any paper work etc and are not technically breaking the law as they did not enter the premises. and then the department covering their own backside in case the officers (or detectives or whatever) were photographed or identified later as being as the address.

So what do you think the police are SUPPOSED to do when a citizen or representative of a corporation arrives at the police station and says I have reason to believe that this person has received stolen property that belongs to me?
post #19 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) How much money needs to be lost before it becomes a real crime to you?

2) It sounds like you are picturing the entire SF police force running aroun like Keystone Cops looking for an iPhone prototype? \

I wasn't thinking in terms of money...what about violent crimes. Is there a dollar figure on the lost phone? Was it an IP5 prototype for sure? It's going to be released in a few weeks so it will become public soon. It seems to be more embarrassing than anything....this has happened twice now....

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post #20 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

This "lost phone" could be worth a hundred million dollars in lost revenue. If the SFPD aren't sending officers out to help try and find something worth a hundred million dollars, then they're not doing their jobs.

How did you come up with that dollar amount? IF it was an IP5 prototype then it will be released in just a few weeks. Then it will be public with no secrets....

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post #21 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


If there was no official police involvement - it could be the ex-cop calling a couple of buddies to show up and say SFPD - we need to look around - and then remain outside themselves so that they do not have to do any paper work etc and are not technically breaking the law as they did not enter the premises. and then the department covering their own backside in case the officers (or detectives or whatever) were photographed or identified later as being as the address.

I think this might be about right. Also, the department may not have known about it until recently, if the SFPD officers didn't do paperwork. I'm guessing a few personnel files will be updated negatively.
post #22 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Or one or more of the police identified themselves as police and Sergio assumed wrongly that all six of them were police (which is probably what the ex-policeman Apple employee was counting on).

Sure. If 6 guys show up and my door and say "were with the police, we'd like to talk to you" am I supposed to parse that means, some, a few, most or all?

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post #23 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeos View Post

Needs to go to the DA for prosecution.

No, it needs to go to the DA for investigation. We don't know (dispute your personal certainty) what the DA's investigation will find.
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post #24 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

This "lost phone" could be worth a hundred million dollars in lost revenue. If the SFPD aren't sending officers out to help try and find something worth a hundred million dollars, then they're not doing their jobs.

If, as you say, it was simply a 'lost phone', albeit worth millions, then no that isn't their job. Lost isn't a crime. Police investigate crimes. Further, it seems this was not an official investigation (it certainly wasn't reported as such) then they are privately providing resources to investigate lost property.

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post #25 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Sure. If 6 guys show up and my door and say "were with the police, we'd like to talk to you" am I supposed to parse that means, some, a few, most or all?

I was providing an option (other than Sergio lying and civilians identifying themselves as police) that I think might be what happened. I didn't approve or say it isn't disturbing. If this was a deliberate deception on the part of the police and the ex-policeman, the answer to your rhetorical question is YES.
post #26 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

I wasn't thinking in terms of money...what about violent crimes.

This isn't a violent crime so why would that matter? There are specialties within law enforcement.
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post #27 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This isn't a violent crime so why would that matter? There are specialties within law enforcement.

You're right....can't compare the two...
But there was no crime committed...Apple just reported a "lost" phone....where was the crime?

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post #28 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeos View Post

Anybody can see that Apple strong armed this guy by threatening him and impersonating police officers as they searched his house!!! You can't search anyone's home! No, you cannot do that. This is not the USSR in 1975 (or Russia today). It's America and you can't come into a home acting like you're a cop. People go to jail for this. It's called impersonating a police officer and it carries prison time. The idiot Apple "security official" is an ex cop. Probably a good reason he's not a cop anymore. He certainly knew they were breaking the law. But Apple is worse than big brother and they can strong arm the police. They have more money than the US mint and the arrogance of Apple is certainly obvious here. This cannot get brushed aside as Apple will try to do. If it does it's proof that you can buy anything you want if you are rich and powerful. I doubt that the cops were really there,standing outside,because they denied it in the beginning. They denied it because it was the truth. Then Apple placed a call and suddenly the cops were "actually there but only outside". This is wrong and it needs to be opened up in the major press like it would be if it were anyone else other than Apple. How would you like it if a company, any company, did this to you? Needs to go to the DA for prosecution.

post #29 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

If, as you say, it was simply a 'lost phone', albeit worth millions, then no that isn't their job. Lost isn't a crime. Police investigate crimes. Further, it seems this was not an official investigation (it certainly wasn't reported as such) then they are privately providing resources to investigate lost property.

If it was "lost" at location x, but then tracked to location y using Find My iPhone, how is it simply a 'lost phone'.
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post #30 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

You're right....can't compare the two...
But there was no crime committed...Apple just reported a "lost" phone....where was the crime?

Yo know law enforcement also works to prevent crime before it happens. Keeping a prototype from being exposed to competitors is worth a lot of money to Apple and that likely translated into a lot of money for the SFPD one way or another.

I seriously don't see how yo and others have a problem with this. It's no different than what they do for other major companies. Have you not seen the FBI warnings before a movie plays warning you of the potential penalty for copying a movie you own? Have you not heard of raids on torrent sites that actually don't keep any of the shared data on their systems?
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post #31 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

Sure it is legal to search a person's house - if you are an officer of the law and have either just-cause OR a warrant.

You left off the third possibility - permission from the homeowner.

Apparently, the homeowner granted permission - so the search is legal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

If, as you say, it was simply a 'lost phone', albeit worth millions, then no that isn't their job. Lost isn't a crime. Police investigate crimes. Further, it seems this was not an official investigation (it certainly wasn't reported as such) then they are privately providing resources to investigate lost property.

The reporting was apparently messed up, but that will sort itself out. Paperwork mistakes happen.

As for the rest, you apparently aren't watching the iPhone 4 case. Someone claims to have found a lost phone and then takes it home with him without attempting to find the owner or turn it over to the authorities. He's being charged with a crime. The same thing happened here.
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post #32 of 71
Apple has a ton of money, which equates to a whole lot of power and influence. From life experiences I've seen how incredible wealth can change people I've known for years. Companies are no different, usually taking on the personality of it's leaders,

Avoiding a sense of entitlement and being above the rules that apply to most others can be challenging if everyone around worships you.
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post #33 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

You left off the third possibility - permission from the homeowner.

Apparently, the homeowner granted permission - so the search is legal.

Not if he was mislead into thinking they were acting in official capacities as officers of the law.

I'll pull over and allow a police officer to have a look around my truck, even without a warrant. But if a security guard flashes blue lights and a badge and fools me into allowing a look in my vehicle, you can bet I'm filing a police report and charges will almost certainly be filed. That I gave permission for the search won't matter one whit. It will still be illegal, done under false pretenses.
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post #34 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If it was "lost" at location x, but then tracked to location y using Find My iPhone, how is it simply a 'lost phone'.

I was referencing the wording used by tonton in my response to tonton. He called it lost property, so I did too.

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post #35 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Yo know law enforcement also works to prevent crime before it happens. Keeping a prototype from being exposed to competitors is worth a lot of money to Apple and that likely translated into a lot of money for the SFPD one way or another.

I seriously don't see how yo and others have a problem with this. It's no different than what they do for other major companies. Have you not seen the FBI warnings before a movie plays warning you of the potential penalty for copying a movie you own? Have you not heard of raids on torrent sites that actually don't keep any of the shared data on their systems?

But there was no crime.....they even searched and found nothing. If the phone was worth millions then why did that schmuck that left in the bar have it? How can Apple lose millions from something that will be released in a few weeks?
When the movie industry goes after illegal downloaders they always have TONS of evidence to back up their claims. They get court orders to get accounts from file sharing sites. They get court orders to get IP addresses from internet providers that ties it all to a person. Just getting the court order alone has to pass certain amount of scrutiny. Also file sharing sites have file names you can get from google searches. So they have a very reasonable evidence the file is there illegally. Also they can follow up with a test download of the suspected material themselves for proof.
There was no reasonable expectation the phone existed at that location. The police did not investigate...they took the Apple investigators word for it. Believe me if they had proof they would have come with a warrant. The police can get a warrant if there was reasonable expectation that stolen property was at that location.

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post #36 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If it was "lost" at location x, but then tracked to location y using Find My iPhone, how is it simply a 'lost phone'.

Where was the crime? Was this a police investigation? Was there a warrant?

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post #37 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

As for the rest, you apparently aren't watching the iPhone 4 case. Someone claims to have found a lost phone and then takes it home with him without attempting to find the owner or turn it over to the authorities. He's being charged with a crime. The same thing happened here.

Well, then you have facts the rest of us don't. They didn't find it after an exhaustive search. It was apparently in proximity to his home at some point. Could be a friend of his took it from the bar and was at his house at some point.

It could be stolen. Depends if the person that took it intended to attempt to return it. The people in the Giz case sold it and their actions show the had no intention of returning it. You don't know that is the case here. Could be, but you don't know that. If indeed it was stolen and if Apple considered it stolen, they could and should have filed a police report. It's not like the world would be surprised to learn Apple has prototypes. It wouldn't be releasing any secrets.

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post #38 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Well, it isn't really more or less plausible.

Given the facts, until the SFPD came clean, all anyone knew was that someone showed up at this guys house, representing themselves as police and requesting access to search the home. Since the police formally denied any involvement, it only left two possible conclusions, if the police were being honest and factual (turns out they weren't). Either Sergio was lying, which turns out not to be the case, or someone that was not the police said they were the police.


Or a police officer knocks on the door, shows this guy his badge, tells him that 'these men would like to search your home for some stolen property' to wit Sergio declares that he hasn't stolen anything come on in and look. And the two gents from Apple never said they were or were not police but Sergio assumed they were.

And the stuff about 'are you all legal' could still be made up


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

If, as you say, it was simply a 'lost phone', albeit worth millions, then no that isn't their job. Lost isn't a crime.


Actually in the state of California if something is misplaced and not returned to the rightful owner it is deemed stolen.

We only have this guy's word that anyone not a police officer claimed to be one or didn't say they were not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

The people in the Giz case sold it and their actions show the had no intention of returning it. You don't know that is the case here. .

If one finds a whatever in a bar, restaurant etc, the accepted 'attempting to return it' is to hand it over to the staff. Not take it home. One could claim it was a mistake and the guy thought it was his phone cause he was too drunk to remember he left his at home by accident but then why not take it back to the bar where the rightful owner would be looking for.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #39 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Or a police officer knocks on the door, shows this guy his badge, tells him that 'these men would like to search your home for some stolen property' to wit Sergio declares that he hasn't stolen anything come on in and look. And the two gents from Apple never said they were or were not police but Sergio assumed they were.

And the stuff about 'are you all legal' could still be made up

Everything else that he claimed, even stuff originally denied by the police has proven to be true. Any reason to think he is making other parts up? The police gave wrong info, Apple gave none and his has ben truthful. Yet his veracity of is the one in question?




Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Actually in the state of California if something is misplaced and not returned to the rightful owner it is deemed stolen.

only if reasonable efforts are not made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

We only have this guy's word that anyone not a police officer claimed to be one or didn't say they were not.

Yes, the only party that has been honest and/or forthcoming. That is indeed whose word we have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

If one finds a whatever in a bar, restaurant etc, the accepted 'attempting to return it' is to hand it over to the staff. Not take it home.

We've all known staff in stores, bars and restaurants that treat the lost and found as their personal bargain centre, haven't we? My accepted method to return it, and the method actually covered by Cali law, would be to try to find the owner and or hand it to the police. If you found it you are responsible for it's safekeeping and care. If by handing it to any other person but those two parties and it disappears, would you be responsible, at least in part?

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

One could claim it was a mistake and the guy thought it was his phone cause he was too drunk to remember he left his at home by accident but then why not take it back to the bar where the rightful owner would be looking for.

Or one could claim, as he did, that he didn't take the damn thing. We obviously haven't heard the whole story, maybe we never will. Assuming he took it because GPS showed at some point it was near his home is just that, assuming. If we are going to assume, maybe let's assume he was at the bar with friends and one of them took it and later dropped him at his house. Maybe he doesn't know anything. Nothing he has claimed has been shown to be false. Why assume he is lying now and making himself a public target at the same time?

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #40 of 71
I'm seeing a lot of mistaken assumptions about how the law works here. First, we've got to separate the 2 things we're talking about: (1) the entry and search of this guy's place, and (2) the possibility of the 2 apple guys impersonating officers of the law.

So, for (1), it's important to understand that the cops can say just about anything to convince you to let them in and search your place without a warrant, and it's NOT illegal. Cops are legally allowed to lie to people, there's tons of precedent for it unfortunately. BS like "You should let us in now and it'll go easier on you than if we have to come back with a warrant" "I'm going to get immigration down here if you don't let us in to search" can be blatant lies, but a cop is allowed to say that stuff in his attempts to manipulate you into answering further questions or allowing a search. All you have to do is say "no I do not consent to a search" and "I don't wish to answer any of your questions, am I free to go?" but so many people just don't understand their rights properly. They did NOT present a warrant, simply asking him to enter and search, and once this guy said "yes, you can come in and search" (not under legally defined duress, which doesn't include vague intimidation at all), it doesn't matter if (A) some were cops, some were not, (B) they had probable cause or not, or (C) they said specifically what they were looking for or if he was a suspect or not. Once he said ok, he BONED HIMSELF. Bottom line, cops are not your friends, do not talk to them, know your rights, protect yourself in all dealings with them because even if you are 100% innocent of any criminal offense, you can still fall into serious legal problems though simple cooperation with their requests. I probably sound paranoid, but this is how it is out there.

(2) Just because 6 guys show up at your door and one says "we're the cops", but doesn't specify more precisely that actually 4 of them are cops, and 2 are non-cops, and you ASSUME that all 6 are cops, even though it's TOTALLY REASONABLE to assume that, there is no case for "impersonating an officer of the law" (which is the specific criminal offense we're talking about, general terms like "misrepresentation" isn't a specific enough description to zero on a specific criminal offense). The onus would be on the accuser to prove that the 2 guys or the cops actively tried to present the 2 guys as cops. The vague assumption stuff won't do it in court, not even close.

The stuff about them being off duty or being there in an "unofficial" capacity seems irrelevant to me, as it seems clear that they *were* there in an official capacity, regardless of whether a miscommunication occurred, the record of this was temporarily misplaced or not transferred from the cops' notes to the official record yet, or there was no record and the PD made it up afterwards to cover their butts (which would be an issue, but an issue about the police's legal requirements regarding record keeping and/or lying to the public, SEPARATE from the officers' conduct within the specific incident at the guy's house). Just because they brought along some non-cops doesn't mean anything, they're allowed to do that since there was no warrant or arrest involved, so the cops weren't doing anything that a non-cop couldn't have done as well, namely asking to come in and search without presenting a warrant or attempting to arrest anyone, and doing so after the guy said ok. Even if they had been serving a warrant or making an arrest, as long as the non-cops present didn't partake in things that only law officers have the authority to do, there's no legal problem.

If anything, I hope this situation reminds people that their rights under the law are not as simple as what we were all told in 9th grade civics class.
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