San Francisco Bartender Visted by ‘Google Secret Police’

Jamin Barton got a little more than he bargained for when a customer left his smartphone on the bar where he worked. He was paid a visit by the Google “Secret Police” who questioned him about the phone and offered him a new smartphone if he kept his mouth shut about what he had seen. According to Wired, the phone he had found was the not yet released Nexus 4 Android phone.

Barton told wired:

“We find about 20 [phones] a week. Most people come back for them in 15 minutes.”

The phone was locked and did not have a SIM card, so Barton couldn’t figure out who the owner was. He showed the phone to someone he knew in the tech industry named Dave. Dave recognized that it was the new Nexus and offered to reach out to Google for Barton.
When Barton heard back from Dave, he said Dave was shaken from his dealings with Google.

Barton said:

“Dave sort of freaked out. [He said] ‘Google lost a phone. You just got a guy fired … The Google police are coming’. I probably shouldn’t have shown it to him. But I did. He didn’t work for Google, but Google had him pretty worked up. They told him he could be an accessory or something.”

Google sent their global investigations and intelligence manager to Barton’s bar to retrieve the phone.

Barton still required them to prove they worked for Google.

Barton said:


“What was I supposed to do, look for the guy with Google shirt? How did I know this guy didn’t work for Apple.”

Barton eventually gave the phone to the Google executive, but only after he was able to confirm the executive’s identity.

Barton was offered a free phone by the Google executive as long as he kept his mouth shut about the incident. Instead, Barton decided to tell his story to Wired for a small freelance fee. He also provided photos of the phone to Wired.

Speculation about LG’s new Nexus 4 is that it boasts a 1,280 × 768 display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and new Android operating system.

Google had planned to release the phone in New York on Monday but was forced to cancel due to Hurricane Sandy.