The iPhone caper continues with further twists and turns, as it now appears that after the infamous iPhone was left at a Redwood City bar, Apple reported the iPhone stolen. The report prompted an investigation that later led California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, to the home of Gizmodo.com editor Jason Chen. The REACT team forcibly entered Chen's home without him present and seized, among other things, four computers and two servers.
Gizmodo.com said it received the allegedly stolen iPhone after it was left at a bar by an Apple engineer. Apparently, Brian Hogan was sitting at the bar when someone approached him and handed him the phone after finding it on a bar stool.
Hogan reportedly had a friend attempt to contact Apple to return the phone, but eventually turned it over to Gizmodo in exchange for $5,000. Hogan now says that he regrets the decision not to do more to contact Apple. Hogan's attorney, Jeffrey Bornstein, contends that his client believed that he had done nothing wrong.
Even though he did obtain some compensation from Gizmodo, Brian thought that it was so they could review the phone, Bornstein said. Brian believed -- and Gizmodo emphasized to him -- that there was nothing wrong with sharing the phone with the tech press. Brian has been and is willing to cooperate.
"They said there was a belief that this had been stolen and we want to make sure it's investigated, and we agreed," San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said yesterday in a phone interview. "It was reported as stolen property."
The person who found the phone "is very definitely one of the people who is being looked at as a suspect in theft," Wagstaffe told Wired.com Wednesday. "Assuming there's ultimately a crime here. That's what we're still gauging, is this a crime, is it a theft?"
- Apple Reported iPhone Prototype Was Stolen, Prosecutor Says (Businessweek)
- Gizmodo Post on Police Seizing Computers (includes search warrant) (Gizmodo)
- Bad News Bloggers: NJ Court Says You Are Not Journalists (FindLaw's Decided)
- iPhone Finder Regrets His 'Mistake' (Wired.com)