updated 01:00 pm EDT, Sun September 25, 2011
SFPD hopes to catch iPhone 5 loss on tape
The San Francisco Police Department is hoping to use surveillance video footage to help identify the suspect, if any, behind the lost iPhone 5 prototype at Cava 22, the restaurant's owner Jose Valle explained this weekend. He revealed to CNET that the SFPD had visited a week ago and asked for footage from July 21 and 22, the timeframe of the missing device, to see what had happened. Valle has the video on hand and is just waiting for SFPD officers to respond.
Its footage may be imperfect as the six cameras involved only snap photos every three minutes and can't necessarily pick up finer details in more dimly lit areas. Apple would also have to provide details like the appearance of the employee that lost the phone and, possibly, the iPhone itself. The device would very likely have been disguised, as was the iPhone 4 prototype that was stolen last year, but it would risk giving away details.
The recordings may be for the internal SFPD probe and not any criminal investigation. Apple hasn't formally filed a criminal report, spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield said. He didn't explain why they would need to see footage of Cava 22 when the probe was primarily over the absence of paperwork for the case itself.
So far, the only evidence surrounding the disappearance has been linked to Sergio Calderon. Apple reportedly tracked the missing prototype to his home through Find My iPhone's GPS tracking, and Calderon admits to having been at Cava 22 the night when the device went missing. A search of the home didn't turn up the phone itself.
The case has raised questions both about Apple and the SFPD. Some have argued that Apple went too far in trying to orchestrate a home search outside of regular police channels, believing that the secrecy of an iPhone release trumped due process. Most of the criticism has been levelled at the SFPD, however, which was under no obligation to agree, if pushed at all, and should have at least followed basic legal processes.