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 The search warrant was later withdrawn as Gizmodo agreed to cooperate with authorities and provide all relevant information pertaining to the investigation.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
150 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
150 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
150 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
150 months ago
They are very lucky!!! I'm shocked.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Anician Avatar
150 months ago
Haha he looks so ****in stupid holding up that iPhone. At least smile or something.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bigdaddyguido Avatar
150 months ago
Another sad day for justice, and for journalistic integrity.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.3.1 Update for iPhone as Wait for iOS 16.4 Beta Continues

Thursday February 2, 2023 6:41 am PST by
Apple appears to be preparing an iOS 16.3.1 update for the iPhone, based on evidence of the software in our website's analytics logs this week. It's unclear when the update will be released, but it will likely be available at some point in February. The same logs have accurately foreshadowed the release of several previous updates, including iOS 16.0.3 and iOS 16.1.1 most recently, so they...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
Apple Pay Later Quick Green Feature

Apple Pay Later Launching 'Soon'

Thursday February 2, 2023 2:10 pm PST by
The Apple Pay Later service that Apple has in the works is set to launch "soon," Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC ahead of today's earnings call for the first fiscal quarter of 2023. Cook said that Apple employees are beta testing the Apple Pay Later feature, which will help Apple boost services revenue. "It will be launching soon," Cook said. Apple Pay Later was first previewed at the...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...