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Gizmodo Cleared as Charges Finally Brought in Lost Prototype iPhone 4 Case

Gizmodo notes that the San Mateo County District Attorney has released an official statement announcing that misdemeanor charges have been brought against two individuals involved in the sale of an iPhone 4 prototype found in a bar back in March 2010 and subsequently sold to Gizmodo.


Gizmodo, parent company Gawker Media, and Gizmodo editor Jason Chen have been officially cleared and will not be charged in connection with the case. From the district attorney's press release:
The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office has filed misdemeanor charges against two individuals for the misappropriation of an iPhone 4 prototype that was lost by an Apple employee and subsequently recovered in a Redwood City establishment by the defendants on March 25, 2010. Brian Hogan, 22, of Redwood City was charged with one count of misappropriation of lost property, and Sage Wallower, 28, of Emeryville, was charged with misappropriation of lost property, and possession of stolen property. Their arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 9:00 in Redwood City. After a consideration of all of the evidence, it was determined that no charges would be filed against employees of Gizmodo.
Hogan was the person who came into possession of the prototype iPhone in a Redwood City bar, with Hogan claiming that he had been handed the phone by another patron after Apple engineer Gray Powell left the phone on a bar stool as he left the establishment. Wallower has been said to have served as an intermediary who worked to shop the device to various tech sites before ultimately selling the iPhone to Gizmodo.

Last April, police officers entered Chen's apartment and seized a number of computers and other property thought to potentially be involved in the case. Controversy surrounded the seizure as Gizmodo and others claimed that the website and its employees should be protected under California laws shielding journalists from such actions as connected to their work. The search warrant was later withdrawn as Gizmodo agreed to cooperate with authorities and provide all relevant information pertaining to the investigation.

Top Rated Comments

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42 months ago
So it's now OK to buy a stolen Phone? So if I hop on eBay, and buy one of many listed iPhones recently stolen down the road in the London riots thats now OK?

Giz have got away with this big time. It's never OK to buy stolen property.
Rating: 26 Votes
42 months ago

Will all the people who said that Jason Chen and Gizmodo were "clearly guilty of theft under California law" please come forward and apologize for name calling and insulting the few of us who said "innocent until proven guilty" now ?


Who said they were guilty of theft? Guilty of handling stolen goods. And lucky that they don't get prosecuted.

Just looked at the Gizmodo site to check for "journalistic integrity". The prosecutor said "After a consideration of all of the evidence, it was determined that no charges would be filed against employees of Gizmodo". Gizmodo changed this to "no crime was committed by Gizmodo employees", which is of course absolutely not the same.


"Lost in a bar" does not equate "Stolen" it seems. ;)

Absolutely correct. "Lost in a bar" does not equate "stolen". We always knew that. "Found in a bar" doesn't equate "stolen" either. "Found in a bar, taken away, and not returned to the owner" equates stolen. Which is why Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower are being charged.
Rating: 19 Votes
42 months ago
They are very lucky!!! I'm shocked.
Rating: 14 Votes
42 months ago
Cynical translation: Gizmodo lawyered up enough to protect themselves and their staff, everyone else gets charged.
Rating: 14 Votes
42 months ago
Haha he looks so ****in stupid holding up that iPhone. At least smile or something.
Rating: 13 Votes
42 months ago

Will all the people who said that Jason Chen and Gizmodo were "clearly guilty of theft under California law" please come forward and apologize for name calling and insulting the few of us who said "innocent until proven guilty" now ?

I can dream can I ? :rolleyes:



Not sure if this is meant as a joke or not. You do realize not every person who commits a crime is actually convicted of that crime right?

Where do people get this idea of "Oh it must mean its legal". No, it means after looking at the situation and circumstances, the DA did not want to proceed because it probably felt it might lose in court. Maybe because of character witnesses, etc.
Rating: 12 Votes
42 months ago

Good. This was a stupid case anyways.


A stupid case because they leaked trade secrets before its release date?
Rating: 8 Votes
42 months ago
I effin hate Gawker. To them everything is either stellar good or vomit-worthy bad. Hope the dbags learned their lesson.
Rating: 6 Votes
42 months ago
I love how everyone on here are expert lawyers all of a sudden.

:rolleyes:

w00master
Rating: 6 Votes
42 months ago

The phone was not stolen.. it was clearly lost by an irresponsible idiot! This is just a sample of what happens when you have money and a good set lawyers.


So if you lose your car keys and I find them and take your car, I didn't steal your car because you were irresponsible and lost it?

As stated before, taking the phone isn't stealing necessarily. But, the person finding it didn't go through any reasonable steps to return the phone. He knew who owned it, went into the guys Facebook profile, Apple's campus being right down the street from the bar, etc. He had means to return it. He didn't contact the police or leave his info with the manager of the bar. He made one lame attempt in calling AppleCare who wouldn't know anything about it or what to do and then sold it. After failing at making a reasonable attempt to return the prototype and then selling it, it became selling stolen property.
Rating: 6 Votes

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