Detective Staab, who is still with the Police Department, did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. It was unclear whether he had a lawyer.
He was assigned on Jan. 4 to investigate a truck that had been reported stolen the day before, according to court documents. The filings state that the owner told the police that inside the truck were four semiautomatic handguns, a tactical military-style rifle, a revolver, two drones, $4,000 in cash and an iPhone 11.
The detective interviewed the truck’s owner, Jeremy McDaniel, who told him that he had used the Find My app the day before to search for the iPhone and that it had placed the lost phone at an address, according to court documents.
Mr. McDaniel, who could not be reached on Monday, also told Detective Staab that he had rented a car to drive by the address but did not see his truck. Mr. McDaniel told the detective that he suspected that his truck could have been in the garage of the home.
The Find My app was created to help Apple product owners find an “approximate location” of a lost item, according to the app’s legal terms. The tool relies on a combination of cellular, Wi-Fi and GPS networks and Bluetooth data to show users an estimate of where the lost item could be.
The approximate location may be specific enough to identify one household or wide enough to include several buildings, if the item cannot be precisely pinpointed. In the app’s reviews, many users have reported success in finding lost items, while others have said that the app was inaccurate.
Apple, the developers of the Find My app, did not respond to a request for comment on Monday about the suit.