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 The search warrant was later withdrawn as Gizmodo agreed to cooperate with authorities and provide all relevant information pertaining to the investigation.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

(View all)
Avatar
120 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)
Avatar
120 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)
Avatar
120 months ago
Cynical translation: Gizmodo lawyered up enough to protect themselves and their staff, everyone else gets charged.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
They are very lucky!!! I'm shocked.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
Haha he looks so ****in stupid holding up that iPhone. At least smile or something.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
Another sad day for justice, and for journalistic integrity.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

'A New iOS Update is Now Available' Popping Up Repeatedly in iOS 14 Beta [Fixed: New Beta Available]

Thursday October 29, 2020 6:11 pm PDT by
Many users running iOS 14 beta are reporting that they are seeing a dialog box pop up repeatedly asking them to update from the latest iOS 14 beta. Threads in our forums, Reddit, and Twitter are reporting the issue. The dialog has been appearing for a few days now, but as of tonight has started appearing more frequently, every time an iPhone is unlocked. There's been further discussion in...

First iPhone 12 Mini Hands-On Video Surfaces [Update: Video Pulled]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max aren't set to be available until November 13, but a Romanian YouTuber got his hands on the iPhone 12 mini and showed it off today, offering a size comparison between the iPhone 12 and the 12 mini along with going over some of the device's features. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12 in design and functionality, but it has a...

Apple One is Now Available: Save Money by Bundling Apple Music, iCloud Storage, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and More

Friday October 30, 2020 7:47 am PDT by
Apple One bundles are now available in the United States and over 100 other countries, allowing customers to subscribe to multiple Apple services through a single plan, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, and more. To sign up for Apple One on an iPhone: Open Settings App Tap on Your Name at the top Tap on Subscriptions Tap on Apple One The prompt for Apple One...

iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield Still 'Scratches at Level 6 With Deeper Grooves at Level 7' in Mohs Hardness Test

Wednesday October 28, 2020 7:10 am PDT by
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new Ceramic Shield front cover that is "tougher than any smartphone glass," according to Apple, but the displays on the devices still have similar scratch resistance as previous iPhones based on a new test. Zack Nelson today shared his much-anticipated iPhone 12 Pro durability test on his YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, and based on the Mohs...

Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'More Exciting Things' in Store For This Year

Thursday October 29, 2020 2:20 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2020 (third calendar quarter), Cook said that while he doesn't want to give too much away, "this year has a few more exciting things in store." Cook is likely speaking about the Apple Silicon Macs, as Apple has previously said the first Apple Silicon Mac will be coming before the end of 2020. There are rumors of a third fall event ...

2020 iPad Air vs. iPad Pro: Hands-On Comparison

Tuesday October 27, 2020 3:03 pm PDT by
Apple announced the new 2020 fourth-generation iPad Air in September, but the new tablets just started shipping out to customers last Friday. We picked one up and thought we'd do a hands-on comparison with the iPad Pro, which was last updated in March, because both tablets are about as powerful and share many similarities. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design and ...

After Mocking Apple, Samsung May Remove Power Adapter From Galaxy S21 Box

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:29 pm PDT by
Samsung's Galaxy S21, coming in 2021, may not include a power adapter or headphones in the box, according to reports from Korean media sites highlighted by SamMobile. Rumors earlier this year also said that Samsung was considering removing these accessories from future smartphone models, but that didn't stop Samsung from mocking Apple for selling the iPhone 12 models without a power adapter...

Apple Releases First macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday October 28, 2020 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today seeded a new macOS Big Sur 11.0.1 beta to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta replacing the existing macOS Big Sur 11 beta 10 update that was released two weeks ago. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in...

Apple One Service Bundles Set to Launch Tomorrow, Fitness+ Coming This Quarter

Thursday October 29, 2020 1:39 pm PDT by
Apple in September announced Apple One, a new series of services bundles that will let Apple device customers purchase several services together in one package instead of separately, saving money for those who use multiple Apple service products. Ahead of Apple's earnings call, Apple CFO Luca Maestri told Bloomberg that Apple One is set to launch on Friday, October 30. Apple One Bundle...

PSA: Apple One Premier Bundle Only Available in US, UK, Canada, and Australia

Friday October 30, 2020 2:39 am PDT by
Apple's new Apple One series of services bundles launches on Friday in over 100 countries and regions, but the top Premier tier will be limited to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. The limited rollout of the $29.95 Premier tier is down to the fact that Apple News+ is currently only available in the above countries. Apple News+ is exclusive to the Premier tier,...