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Apple's Cook faces first flap over lost iPhone

New Apple CEO Tim Cook's first big task may be to put out a fire over the saga developing around an iPhone test device that was lost in a bar in San Francisco.

Apple's Tim Cook
Tim Cook James Martin/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook may have to deal with his first real crisis if reports about company security officers impersonating cops turn out to be true.

According to SF Weekly, the man at the center of the lost iPhone story said that six officials he thought were San Francisco police officers searched his home in July. SF Weekly reports:

If accurate, his account raises the possibility that Apple security personnel attempting to recover the prototype falsely represented themselves as police officers--a criminal act punishable by up to a year in jail in the state of California--or that SFPD employees colluding with Apple failed to properly report an extensive search of a person's home, car, and computer.

CNET News this week reported that an unreleased version of the iPhone was lost at Cava22, a bar in the Mission District. As ZDNet's Jason O'Grady noted lightning strikes twice given that Apple's iPhone 4 was also lost. This iPhone tale turned into a national story.

Now, a lost test device isn't exactly a crisis for Cook, but the events that follow could become a major headache. According to Sergio Calderón, the man at the center of this week's story, six people wearing badges showed up to look for a lost iPhone that was traced to him via GPS. SF Weekly also reports that these folks said they were from the San Francisco Police Department.

Losing a prototype is one thing. Impersonating the cops is another matter entirely. Now that SF Weekly has connected this lost iPhone saga to Anthony Colon, an Apple investigator, this flap could turn out to be a real problem.

After Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO, Cook probably thought his next big item was to launch the iPhone 5. Now it looks like his first big chore will be putting out fires related to this lost device.

This story originally appeared on ZDNet's Between the Lines.