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 chen iphone 4 prototype
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 The search warrant was later withdrawn as Gizmodo agreed to cooperate with authorities and provide all relevant information pertaining to the investigation.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

9822737 Avatar
136 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.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnasher729 Avatar
136 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.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imahawki Avatar
136 months ago
Cynical translation: Gizmodo lawyered up enough to protect themselves and their staff, everyone else gets charged.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michaelgtrusa Avatar
136 months ago
They are very lucky!!! I'm shocked.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anician Avatar
136 months ago
Haha he looks so ****in stupid holding up that iPhone. At least smile or something.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bigdaddyguido Avatar
136 months ago
Another sad day for justice, and for journalistic integrity.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
iphone se 2020 top

iPhone SE With Larger 5.7-Inch Display May Launch in 2023, 'iPhone SE+ 5G' Also Rumored

Monday January 17, 2022 6:46 am PST by
Apple is planning to release a fourth-generation iPhone SE with a larger 5.7-inch display as early as 2023, according to display industry consultant Ross Young, who has proven to be a reliable source of information for future Apple products. The fourth-generation iPhone SE has until now been rumored to launch in 2024, but Young now says a 2023 release is looking more likely....
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...