Science & Technology Law

2 Individuals Criminally Charged for Allegedly Selling Lost iPhone Prototype They Found to Gizmodo


If Brian Hogan, 22, and Sage Wallower, 28, had simply kept the prototype Apple iPhone that Hogan found last year, they couldn’t have been criminally charged, a California prosecutor says.

But because Hogan allegedly sold it to a gadget website for $5,000 with Wallower’s help, both are now defendants in a misdemeanor case, Bloomberg reports.

Both are charged with misappropriation of lost property, and Wallower also faces a possession of stolen property charge.

His lawyer, Jeff Bornstein of K&L Gates, contends the matter shouldn’t have been criminalized but said Hogan accepts responsibility and is cooperating to resolve the case quickly. Wallower’s lawyer couldn’t be identified.

No charges are being pursued against Gizmodo.com, which published information about the prototype last year before returning it to Apple, or its employees. San Mateo County Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitt tells the news agency that the dividing line between the constitutional rights of the media and criminal law in such a case is unclear, and his office didn’t want to make this a test case. The website is owned by Gawker Media.

The loss of the phone, which was admittedly left in a bar by an Apple employee, initially led to a significant law enforcement response after a lawyer for the company reported it had been stolen, as detailed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts:

After Gizmodo Posts iPhone Pix, Cops Seize Editor’s Home Computers

Report: O’Melveny Lawyer Sparked Probe of iPhone Prototype Loss by Reporting It Stolen

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