jamin-bartonGoogle’s upcoming Nexus is no secret. The device’s identity, LG Nexus 4, was outed a long, long time ago; the Internet’s lust for spoilers will do that. We know what it looks like, its specs, and the fact that it’ll run Android 4.2. What we didn’t know, until today, is that Google lost its precious new Nexus at a San Francisco bar last month.

Discovered by bartender Jamin Barton, or “Sudsy,” at the 500 Club in the city’s Mission District, the device was apparently left behind with a blatant “not for sale” sticker plastered on the device’s rear shell. There was no SIM, however, but the Google logo was all the information needed to identify the mysterious device.

When handed over to Barton’s friend Dave, who is described as tech-savvy, the handset was immediately recognized as the Nexus 4. But rather than sell the LG-made device, Dave decided to contact Google, and the company responded the next day. Then things got completely insane. Everything aligned to make for one crazy night.

Google quickly deployed Brian Katz, global investigations and intelligence manager at Google, who was tasked to retrieve the lost device. Barton agreed over the phone to hand the Nexus 4 over, but the only thing was, Katz refused to confirm he worked for Google. That would make anyone skeptical. “What was I supposed to do, look for the guy with [a] Google shirt?” Barton said. “How did I know this guy didn’t work for Apple?”

lg-nexus-4-lost-barBarton refused to meet unless Katz verified he worked for Google. But Katz hounded him, and showed up at the 500 Club that night unannounced. Barton, however, wasn’t there. Instead, a co-worker, who Wired described as “a guy with well-inked arms and a general don’t-fuck-with-me-demeanor,” sent Katz to chase shadows, telling him Barton was at a nearby police station to report the lost property.

On Nearby 14th Street, undercover cops had just gunned down a gang suspect in the road after he produced an illegal TEC-9 semi-automatic pistol and appeared to point it at one of them. The neighborhood erupted in outrage, and dozens of people attacked and vandalized the Mission precinct station while Katz was still inside.

After a long night, Katz eventually identified himself as a Google employee to Barton’s lawyer, and the phone was handed over. Katz reportedly offered Barton a free phone on the condition he kept quiet about the whole thing, but Barton declined.

Not that it would matter, because a prototype Nexus 4 review showed up overseas, along with a glut of following information and confirmation.

[via Wired]