You might remember, in April of last year, when Gizmodo got its hands onto the iPhone 4 long before its intended release. If you don’t remember, the Cliff’s Notes version of the story goes a bit like this:
An Apple employee was in a bar and he had the phone with him. He left the phone in the bar and it was picked up by a man by the name of Brian Hogan. Gizmodo offered $5,000 for the device. Gizmodo ran the story of the device, tearing it down and eventually sending it back to Apple at the company’s request.
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Time went on, police seized computers and then we heard…well…nothing. That is, until today. Gizmodo has finally confirmed that it is not being charged in the case. However, both Brian Hogan and his friend Sage Wallower are. The two are being charged with misdemeanor counts of misappropriation of lost property and possession of stolen property.
What seems to be missing here, however, are details that would explain why Gizmodo was not being charged. The site has admitted to paying for the device, has freely admitted and shown proof that it had the device in hand and yet it is walking away scott free. California Penal Code 484 sums up the potential charges as theft. Depending on the severity of the charges, as well as other factors, they could go as felony or misdemeanor.
Ultimately it leaves questions unanswered. I’ve placed a phone call to the District Attorney’s office of San Mateo county but I’ve not yet gotten a response. In short, there were a few people who appear to be in the wrong here but only the “little guys” are having to take any sort of fall.