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Did Apple snoops pose as cops in iPhone hunt? (UPDATED)

UPDATE - 7:30 p.m. ET Friday.  After denying to SF Weekly that San Francisco Police Department officers had been at the scene of the iPhone search, SFPD is now telling the weekly that they accompanied investigators to the home, but did not go in. Details here.

Though we reported CNET's scoop about Apple searching for yet another missing iPhone, we said we remained unconvinced. Well, SF Weekly just upped the credibility of the story with a plot twist suitable for 10 p.m. cop dramas: A real-live, named source is claiming that Apple investigators referred to themselves as members of the San Francisco Police Department during a search of the man's apartment.

SF Weekly previously reported that SFPD had no record of the investigation, which seemingly debunked the CNET report. If Apple investigators had simply referred to themselves as SFPD, that would explain the absence of a report — not to mention the un-cop-like practice of offering the source money when the phone failed to turn up in his apartment.

This would all still remain in the realm of hearsay if it weren't for a piece of startling corroborative evidence: The source claiming that his home was raided, 22-year-old Sergio Calderón, said he received a phone number from one of the alleged police officers. When SF Weekly called the number, they reached a former police sergeant who is now a "senior investigator" at Apple.

The allegation of impersonating a police officer is pretty serious — SF Weekly acknowledges that in California, cop impersonation can land someone in jail for a year — and because of this, we decided to leave out the name of the accused investigator. There's probably more to this story on the way, but until charges are pressed, or at least more concrete evidence comes to light, it's all up in the air.

And so, with some nice investigative reporting, the story becomes both more outrageous and more credible at the same time. We have reached out to Apple, and will let you know if we hear any official word from the company.

More on iPhones past, present, future ... and missing:

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