May 24, 2012 at 5:20 PM ET
"Approximately 10" Berkeley police officers investigated the theft of an iPhone reportedly stolen from the son of their commanding officer, some even claiming overtime and crossing city limits for the search, according to a story recently uncovered by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The search, which reportedly occurred in January, took place on the taxpayer's dime. No police report was filed, and the iPhone was not recovered.
Following a tip, Henry K. Lee, a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer, discovered that an iPhone belonging to the son of Berkeley Police Chief Michael K. Meehan was allegedly stolen at Berkeley High School on Jan. 11. Since the stolen phone was equipped with tracking software — most likely Apple's Find My iPhone feature — it was possible to know the device's approximate location, in real time.
Four of the officers involved — one sergeant and three detectives — extended their shifts by "approximately two hours each and were given overtime," Berkeley PD public information officer, Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss, told TODAY.com. A team of property crimes detectives tracked the iPhone across city limits and then proceeded to call the drug task force team for additional assistance. According to Sgt. Kusmiss, "approximately 10 [officers]" were involved, "in addition to the chief."
The team of officers continued to follow the iPhone's "signal from Berkeley into Oakland until the signal stopped updating its position." At that point they "attempted to contact residents at several homes in the vicinity of the last known signal of the stolen phone." Unfortunately no one was able to provide any "useful information" and the team ended its investigation.
Sgt. Kusmiss added, "Chief Meehan did not order anyone to investigate." Despite the fact that the alleged theft victim was the chief's son, the department maintains that it was following by-the-book procedure.
"It is common for BPD officers to actively investigate an in-progress tracking signal from a stolen electronic device," she told TODAY.com. "These investigations can involve a supervisor and multiple officers depending on the circumstances of the case."
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