Apple's 'Top Cop' Leaves After Failed Lost iPhone 4S Investigation

Man alleges Apple "police" impersonated police officers, made deportation threats in phone search

One of the heads of Apple's security operations who presided over the missing iPhone 4S investigation in July, during which Apple security allegedly impersonated police officers to illegally gain access to a man's home and made threats of deportation in search of the phone, is no longer with the company.

John Theriault, Apple's Vice President of Global Security, has left the tech giant, Mac 9 to 5 reports. The move comes months after an Apple employee lost an iPhone 4S prototype which led Apple security members to impersonate police officers, a criminal act, to search the home of Sergio Calderón, 22, a man suspected of having the lost phone, according to San Francisco Weekly.

The SF Weekly reported in September that six men claiming to be members of the San Francisco Police Department told Calderón that they had traced the phone to his home using GPS technology. They then entered and searched his home, but failed to recover the missing phone.

After the SFPD got word of supposed police officers searching for a missing iPhone, the department first said they had no record of police being dispatched to the man's home.

"This is something that's going to need to be investigated now," SFPD spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield said, when told about the SF Weekly report. "If this guy is saying that the people said they were SFPD, that's a big deal."

Days later, however, the SF Weekly reported that an SFPD spokesman said "three or four" plainclothes officers assisted Apple security members in the investigation, but stayed outside Calderón's home as the Apple security team members searched.

Calderón, who is an American citizen but lives with relatives who are undocumented, told SF Weekly that the impersonating officers also made threats to report his family members' immigration status during the iPhone search.

"One of the officers is like, 'Is everyone in this house an American citizen?' They said we were all going to get into trouble,' " said Calderón.

The San Francisco Examiner reported in October that Calderón has obtained a lawyer and is considering filing a lawsuit.

Due to the serious allegations of impersonating police officers, making immigration threats, and potential lawsuits, tech blogs are suggesting that Theriault's departure is a result of fallout from the investigation.

While at Apple, Theriault also headed the anti-counterfeit team in 2008 that fought against Chinese iPhone bootleggers, Mac 9 to 5 reported. He has previously worked as head of security for drug-giant Pfizer, as well as a special agent for the FBI.