The search for a missing iPhone 5 that was allegedly left in a tequila bar has taken a nasty twist, as the San Francisco Police Department has said it accompanied Apple agents and stood by as they searched a man's home.

That police department had previously told SF Weekly that it wasn't involved in the hunt for a missing iPhone 5 and gave the impression that there were Apple investigators impersonating police officers. However, the San Francisco Police Department recently did a complete 360 and changed its story.

The department told SF Weekly that about three or four officers did accompany two Apple security staffers to a private residence to search for the lost iPhone.

SF Weekly initially reported that San Francisco police has said there wasn't record of the search, raising the possibility that Apple employees impersonated police officers.

But it gets worse.

The San Francisco Police Department official who spoke to the local paper said the police officers didn't go into the house with the Apple investigators.

CNET reported on Aug. 31 that an Apple employee lost an iPhone, possibly the
iPhone 5 prototype in a San Francisco tequila lounge called Cava 22.

It is reported that Apple then contacted the San Francisco Police Department in an effort to recover what they described as a priceless device. The phone may have been sold on Craigslist for $200, CNET learned.

Apple agents eventually traced the phone through GPS to a home in San Francisco belonging to Sergio Calderón, a 22-year-old resident of Bernal Heights.

San Francisco Police Department spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield told SF Weekly that after conferring with Apple and the captain of the Ingleside police station, he learned that plainclothes officers from the department went with private Apple detectives to Calderón's home, but did not go inside the house, and instead, stood outside while the Apple employees scoured Calderón's home, car, and computer files for any trace of the lost iPhone 5.

Police officers and Apple investigators found nothing and an embarrassed Calderón denied ever possessing it.

Calderón also told the San Francisco paper that back in July six badge-wearing people visited his home to ask about the phone. The man claimed none of them acknowledged being employed by Apple, and another allegedly offered him $300 along with a promise that the owner of the phone wouldn't press charges if he returned the device.

The man also claimed that the visitors also allegedly threatened him and his family, asking questions about their immigration status.

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

This is not the first Apple allegedly lost an iPhone prototype.

Last year, gadget Web site Gizmodo bought an unreleased iPhone 4 prototype and wrote an article about the device that was reportedly lost by an Apple employee.

That Apple lost iPhone prototypes last year and this year in similar fashion has sparked speculations that the iPhone maker is intentionally doing this as a media strategy.

Others believe this hype over the lost iPhone may be be a diversion from the retirement of former CEO Steve Jobs.