Lost iPhone 4 Prototype Finders Sentenced to Probation

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gizmodo chen iphone 4 prototype
Late yesterday, CNET reported that Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower, the two men involved in finding a lost iPhone 4 prototype in a Redwood City, California bar last year and selling it to Gizmodo, have pleaded no contest to the theft charges that had been brought against them. The two men were each sentenced to one year of probation and 40 hours of community service, and were required to pay $250 in restitution to Apple.

"We asked for some jail time," [Steve] Wagstaffe, the district attorney, said today. "The judge considered that Wallower had served in the armed forces and Hogan was enrolled in San Jose State, and neither had any criminal record, and decided that jail time wasn't required. Someone from my office called Apple's general counsel. This is a fairly routine theft case. This was a couple of youthful people who should have known better."

In a follow-up report relating an interview with Wagstaffe, CNET shares that Gizmodo was ultimately cleared of any charges related to the case because of a lack of evidence. Wagstaffe did, however, have some harsh words for the behavior of Gizmodo's staff.

Wagstaffe said, however, that his office's review of the computers seized from [Gizmodo editor Jason] Chen's home showed the correspondence between Gizmodo editors was "juvenile."

"It was obvious that they were angry with the company about not being invited to some press conference or some big Apple event. We expected to see a certain amount of professionalism--this is like 15-year-old children talking," Wagstaffe said. "There was so much animosity, and they were very critical of Apple. They talked about having Apple right where they wanted them and they were really going to show them."

The district attorney's office had specifically looked for evidence of Gizmodo's participation in theft leading to possession of stolen property, as well as potential extortion, but did not find sufficient evidence to support either charge.

Top Rated Comments

Žalgiris Avatar
121 months ago

Sentence was too harsh. Just the cost to defend was more than adequate punishment.

Asking for jail time was simply over the top.

Our legal system at its finest. More tax dollars now being spent to support probation.

Stupid.

Let it slide, right? or better just let them pay whatever it would have cost to defend and let them continue doing stuff like this?

Now they have a record and if they attempt anything like this in that year they will be someones sweethearts. I think all is fair here.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cshearer Avatar
121 months ago

This is ridiculous. Jail time? Do we know the FACTS of all this? Has it been PROVEN in court that these men acquired the prototype through illegal means? For heavens sake, Apple "lost" a 2nd prototype at a bar...so I think the quick answer that they (or someone they dealt with) "stole" the prototype is horribly indefensible. I cant believe the DA would suggest jail time for this, in light of the truly horrible offenses that people commit daily without equal punishment.

A SWAT raid on the man's house, and now this? I would sue the hell out of Apple and the police force for this disgusting amount of harassment. These men now have criminal records.

Junk thought like this is a plague in our society.

As many have said in this thread, what they did was criminal, and no matter how large or small, you will get punished if caught and found guilty.

A few months ago I got fined and ticketed for speeding. I was going 70mph in a 55mph zone.

Is this a dangerous speed? No, conditions were ideal.

Was I breaking Pennsylvania's road laws? Yes.

Did I know that I could potentially be fined and possibly have points applied to my license for doing this? Of course.

Did I bitch about it? Of course.

Did I try to peg the blame on someone else or blame our supposedly backwards and corrupt criminal justice system and did my friends suggest I "sue the hell out of" the HPD for the trauma of flashing lights in my eyes? Of course not, because I use the gray lump of matter in my head known as my brain.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Maximillian Avatar
121 months ago
Gizmodo kinda reads like a bunch of 15 year olds, so I'm not really that surprised. I mean, I still go there every day, but I'm started to ask myself 'why?'
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fidelityrevo Avatar
121 months ago
Outrageous sentence

A sentence of a years probation for this is outrageous. That means if they get picked up for anything in the next year they could go to jail. There is no justice in this. Apple contractors pay wages so low to Chinese workers that some killed themselves in dispair, who is in jail from that? Chinese workers poisoned by chemicals in iPhone plant, who is jailed for that? Where are the indictments for Jobs and the board of Apple for allowing human rights violations in their plants. The disparity of treatment reflects the power of greedy corporations to absolute impunity, while the rest of us are treated like rats. It would be one thing to require community service, but probation is beyond the pale.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NeverhadaPC Avatar
121 months ago
Corporations > people.

The Money Crimes of 2008 are still unpunished, but two guys who find a device in a bar and sell it on are charged with a crime and Apple wants to put them in jail.

Who is the legal system protecting...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D-Dave Avatar
121 months ago

Wagstaffe did, however, have some harsh words for the behavior of Gizmodo's staff.


Wagstaffe said, however, that his office's review of the computers seized from [Gizmodo editor Jason] Chen's home showed the correspondence between Gizmodo editors was "juvenile."

"It was obvious that they were angry with the company about not being invited to some press conference or some big Apple event. We expected to see a certain amount of professionalism--this is like 15-year-old children talking," Wagstaffe said. "There was so much animosity, and they were very critical of Apple. They talked about having Apple right where they wanted them and they were really going to show them."

The district attorney's office had specifically looked for evidence of Gizmodo's participation in theft leading to possession of stolen property, as well as potential extortion, but did not find sufficient evidence to support either charge.


While I do not have much sympathy for Gizmondo, I am pretty shocked by the behaviour of Wagstaffe.
His job was to review evidence on the suspects computers, which he did not find. Maybe there are no privacy rules this distict attorney has to comply with but to me it is common sense that his only statement should have been "We did not find sufficient evidence to support any charges."
Anthing else he stated was personal judgment which does not seem to be appropriate for someone paid to be a neutral part of the legal system!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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