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Suspects Plead Not Guilty in Lost iPhone 4 Prototype Case

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Just as Apple is reportedly dealing with the lose of another iPhone prototype, two suspects in the case of last year's lost iPhone 4 prototype have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft charges, according to CNET. That iPhone prototype was lost in a Redwood City, California bar and later sold to Gizmodo. Gizmodo was officially cleared last month as charges were brought against two suspects claimed to be responsible for finding and selling the prototype.
At an arraignment here this morning, Brian Hogan, the man who allegedly found the prototype in a bar after it was left there by an Apple engineer, and Robert Sage Wallower, who is accused of that charge as well as possessing stolen property, entered their pleas before Superior Court Judge Jonathan Karesh.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for October 11.
Hogan has acknowledged finding and selling the iPhone, while Wallower has been accused of acting as a middleman in shopping the device around to various tech sites. Under California law dating back well over 100 years, anyone who finds lost property and who knows the identity of the property's likely owner is guilty of theft if they appropriate the property for their own uses instead of returning it.

Article Link: Suspects Plead Not Guilty in Lost iPhone 4 Prototype Case
 

marksman

macrumors 603
Jun 4, 2007
5,764
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Guilty. Throw the iBook at them
 
Comment

katanna

macrumors 6502
May 6, 2004
330
30
Come on guys, stand up and take responsibility for your actions! You clearly stole something, now fess up and do the time!

Oh, wait, this is America, where it is always someone else's fault, and if you don't like the outcome you just hire a lawyer to get you out of your mess. *lame*

Matthew
 
Comment

Tronic

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2009
351
59
If they found it and sold it, good for them and they should be cleared.

If they stole it and sold it, shame on them and they should be charged.
 
Comment

ouimetnick

macrumors 68030
Aug 28, 2008
2,732
2,788
Beverly, Massachusetts
Come on guys, stand up and take responsibility for your actions! You clearly stole something, now fess up and do the time!

Oh, wait, this is America, where it is always someone else's fault, and if you don't like the outcome you just hire a lawyer to get you out of your mess. *lame*

Matthew

The engineer with the prototype COULD have been more careful. Sure it needs field testing, but it didn't have to be a bar, when you drink, and possibly could get drunk, or into a bar fight.
 
Comment

tann

macrumors 68000
Apr 15, 2010
1,765
465
UK
I think it's clear that by the californian state law they must be guilty. Or at least one of them is, the one who went around trying to sell it to sites.
 
Comment

iSheahan

macrumors member
Feb 21, 2008
46
0
...with the lose of...

You mean "loss"?

Something found and sold shouldn't be a crime. Something stolen and sold already is and should be punishable. Is the case about determining whether the iPhone was found or stolen?
 
Comment

2 Replies

macrumors regular
Apr 26, 2010
180
0
Under California law dating back well over 100 years, anyone who finds lost property and who knows the identity of the property's likely owner is guilty of theft if they appropriate the property for their own uses instead of returning it.
(emphasis mine)

Easy defense.
When it comes to consumer goods, the manufacturer is quite often not the owner. Even as a prototype, Apple could have easily sold it to a suppliers or another company for testing (such as AT&T) or manufacturing accessories for it (such as a neat case to make it look like a 3gs).
Someone could also believe it was a Foxconn owned Apple prototype (do people honestly believe Foxconn employees don't have access, and don't visit Cupertino?).
With Apple's secrecy, no outside person can tell which companies Apple had or had not made prototypes available to.

Additionally, and the BEST defense is the fact that IT WAS a protype that has not been unveiled.
At the time the device was totally different from any design that Apple had released or unveiled, with its lack of curved edges, delicate glass on both sides, thin aluminum band around the outside.
No one at that time would have looked at it and said "that's the iPhone".
At that time, the iPhone WAS the 3GS. Had any layman familiar with the 2010 current iPhone seen the protype, they'd have said "What the F is that"?!?
And with all the fake handsets that were out there, it could have been (and WAS) believed to be a fake.
It wasn't until Giz opened it and properly identified KNOWN Apple hardware & chips that the owner was clearly Apple. ANYONE can stamp an Apple logo and some text on a device.
So even the middlemen would legally be pretty safe in saying they couldn't know that Apple was the owner.

But really, IMO the statute of limitations should expire pretty quick for this case. And definitely not continue past Apple's discontinuation of the model.
Even more importantly, if I has a say, Apple would have to show that their income and profits were grossly damaged by the leaking/sale (which they wouldn't be able to show at all, because if anything, Apple gained MORE press and garnered more demand from the unusual exposure).


Something found and sold shouldn't be a crime. Something stolen and sold already is and should be punishable.

Totally agree.
What's to stop anyone from back-peddling and saying the item they threw away was actually 'lost'?
Such as if a man throws out a cardboard box, then later realizes it had a wad of cash in it.
Suddenly the box wasn't discarded, but is now lost, and anyone who had previously found the lost box is suddenly a criminal. JUST because the guy changed his mind.
 
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callme

macrumors regular
Jul 23, 2010
170
0
If they found it and sold it, good for them and they should be cleared.

If they stole it and sold it, shame on them and they should be charged.

You clearly don't understand the law!

----------

(emphasis mine)

Easy defense.
When it comes to consumer goods, the manufacturer is quite often not the owner. Even as a prototype, Apple could have easily sold it to a suppliers or another company for testing (such as AT&T) or manufacturing accessories for it (such as a neat case to make it look like a 3gs).
Someone could easily believe it was a Foxconn owned Apple prototype.
With Apple's secrecy, no outside person can tell which companies Apple had or had not made prototypes available to.

But really, IMO the statute of limitations should expire pretty quick for this case. And definitely not continue past Apple's discontinuation of the model.
Even more importantly, if I has a say, Apple would have to show that their income and profits were grossly damaged by the leaking/sale (which they wouldn't be able to show at all, because if anything, Apple gained MORE press and garnered more demand from the unusual exposure).

This has nothing to do with the iPhone being a prototype or what Apple may have lost in profits.

It is a simple case.

They found an item, they knew it was something special and who the likely owner was. They did not make efforts to return the iPhone to the likely owner, which was a very simple thing to do. Instead they sold the item, knowing it to be a prototype, to the highest bidder. Cut and dried.
 
Comment

mbh

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2002
400
73
Easy defense.
When it comes to consumer goods, the manufacturer is quite often not the owner.

Sorry, but you're overlooking the fact that Hogan knew exactly who the phone belonged to. The phone was logged into Gray Powell's facebook page! Gizmodo bragged about having the phone of an Apple engineer.

It would have taken 1 minute to leave a message for Gray that he found his phone and how to retrieve it. Or he could have given it to the manager of the bar he found it in.

This is basic decency, people. Don't take things that don't belong to you! Hogan made no apparent effort to return the phone and deserves to be found guilty.
 
Comment

pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,037
65
Plymouth, MN
You mean "loss"?

Something found and sold shouldn't be a crime. Something stolen and sold already is and should be punishable. Is the case about determining whether the iPhone was found or stolen?
Found and not returned by California law is theft. The phone was not returned at all - the owner (which Hogan knew about) was not contacted, the police was not contacted by Hogan, the beer garden was not contacted....

He supposedly contacted Apple Care, but that has never been proven nor were they an appropriate party to contact since they don't deal with stolen device.
 
Comment

Tronic

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2009
351
59
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Is there a law that says I must return to the lawful owner everything I find on the street? What if Gray was littering and the suspects just picked up his trash for him and then realized it was of value and decided to profit from it. If I find something I feel that I now am the new owner of it and can do with it what I please regardless of whether the world thinks its right or not.
 
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mbh

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2002
400
73
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Is there a law that says I must return to the lawful owner everything I find on the street?

In California, yes there is. Don't like it? Write your state representative.
 
Comment

pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,037
65
Plymouth, MN
In California, yes there is. Don't like it? Write your state representative.

It actually covers items of a certain minimum value (I think 200 is the lower limit). If you ind anything of at least that value you are required to contact the police unless you can contact the owner.
 
Comment

jeffreyropp

macrumors member
Jun 23, 2009
66
2
I love the "no crime was committed" arguments. By their logic, I can simply take anything that is unattended without consequences. Utter nonsense.
 
Comment

PeterQVenkman

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2005
2,023
0
Something found and sold shouldn't be a crime.

You can't think of any situation where that could be a problem?


Back on topic - I still want them to go after gizmodo/gawker for buying it, just because I think they are scum/hacks who call themselves journalists but only pretend to be when they need legal protection from something they did wrong.
 
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DominikHoffmann

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2007
182
93
Commonwealth of Virginia
Sorry, but you're overlooking the fact that Hogan knew exactly who the phone belonged to. The phone was logged into Gray Powell's facebook page! Gizmodo bragged about having the phone of an Apple engineer.

Not that I know a whole lot about the case, but this is the first time I see the engineer who lost the phone identified. I hope he didn't lose his job over this. Does anyone know?
 
Comment

pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,037
65
Plymouth, MN
Not that I know a whole lot about the case, but this is the first time I see the engineer who lost the phone identified. I hope he didn't lose his job over this. Does anyone know?

I don’t believe we got official word. Apple employees are not typically allowed to talk on message boards like this (basically all you ever hear from is the executive and PR staff).

I have seen no indication anywhere that says that he was fired at all. He probably still works at Apple but probably not in the exact same capacity.

You will have to Ask Apple, only they know for sure.
 
Comment

BC2009

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2009
1,965
318
Hogan knew whose phone it was and made no effort to return it. He pulled up the Facebook app right after finding the phone. He knew the owner was an Apple engineer. The way I see it, Hogan had three honest options at that point:

1) Get a hold of Powell and tell him he had the phone.

2) Give it to the bar to the owner of the establishment and let him know Powell's contact info from facebook.

3) Leave the phone where he found it and walk away.

Hogan took the phone instead and decided to sell it to a gadget blog. He knew what he was doing. He knew it was not his. That's just wrong. If I set my wallet on a table and step away for a moment it does not make it fair game for anybody who wants it. Taking it is still stealing.

I think the number of people who want Hogan to get off without a conviction want that because they probably also lack the decency to return something that does not belong to them.

One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is the beginning of The Family Man (with Nicholas Cage) where the angel in disguise gives somebody the wrong amount of change to see if they will be honest about pointing that out and giving it back. The person takes the money and leaves and the angel is left there disappointed in the state of humanity.

If Hogan had integrity and returned the device he may have even gotten a nice reward for it. Instead he let his greed overcome him and made the wrong choice. His friends even urged him to return it. It sounds like the guy needs to learn a lesson about this the hard way if you ask me.
 
Comment

marksman

macrumors 603
Jun 4, 2007
5,764
5
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_4 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8K2 Safari/6533.18.5)

Tronic said:
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Is there a law that says I must return to the lawful owner everything I find on the street? What if Gray was littering and the suspects just picked up his trash for him and then realized it was of value and decided to profit from it. If I find something I feel that I now am the new owner of it and can do with it what I please regardless of whether the world thinks its right or not.

No but you do at least have to turn it into the police.
 
Comment

ridesdeepsnow

macrumors member
Oct 14, 2008
38
0
Lake Tahoe, CA
only scumbags grab other people's belongings

Only scumbags would take something that is not theirs. By leaving the bar with the "found" item they should have left it with the owner of the bar.

By leaving the bar with the phone shows intent, and therefore guilty of theft.

They made the decision to pick up the phone, either put it back down or leave it with the bartender or manager/owner of the establishment

Only pathetic wimps would argue the fact they picked up the phone, found out the phone was an apple prototype and thus worth something and then leave the bar with out attempting to reach the owner or Apple to return to. They could easily could have given it to the bar owner.

any argument beyond this only shows they can't even man up and admit to what they did, they have to play the common place "not-guilty" approach to the law and drag it out and waste yours and mine tax dollars on this debacle.
 
Comment

nateo200

macrumors 68030
Feb 4, 2009
2,857
6
Northern District NY
(emphasis mine)

Easy defense.
When it comes to consumer goods, the manufacturer is quite often not the owner. Even as a prototype, Apple could have easily sold it to a suppliers or another company for testing (such as AT&T) or manufacturing accessories for it (such as a neat case to make it look like a 3gs).
Someone could also believe it was a Foxconn owned Apple prototype (do people honestly believe Foxconn employees don't have access, and don't visit Cupertino?).
With Apple's secrecy, no outside person can tell which companies Apple had or had not made prototypes available to.

Additionally, and the BEST defense is the fact that IT WAS a protype that has not been unveiled.
At the time the device was totally different from any design that Apple had released or unveiled, with its lack of curved edges, delicate glass on both sides, thin aluminum band around the outside.
No one at that time would have looked at it and said "that's the iPhone".
At that time, the iPhone WAS the 3GS. Had any layman familiar with the 2010 current iPhone seen the protype, they'd have said "What the F is that"?!?
And with all the fake handsets that were out there, it could have been (and WAS) believed to be a fake.
It wasn't until Giz opened it and properly identified KNOWN Apple hardware & chips that the owner was clearly Apple. ANYONE can stamp an Apple logo and some text on a device.
So even the middlemen would legally be pretty safe in saying they couldn't know that Apple was the owner.

But really, IMO the statute of limitations should expire pretty quick for this case. And definitely not continue past Apple's discontinuation of the model.
Even more importantly, if I has a say, Apple would have to show that their income and profits were grossly damaged by the leaking/sale (which they wouldn't be able to show at all, because if anything, Apple gained MORE press and garnered more demand from the unusual exposure).




Totally agree.
What's to stop anyone from back-peddling and saying the item they threw away was actually 'lost'?
Such as if a man throws out a cardboard box, then later realizes it had a wad of cash in it.
Suddenly the box wasn't discarded, but is now lost, and anyone who had previously found the lost box is suddenly a criminal. JUST because the guy changed his mind.
Solid post. All in all I think the Engineer that left it there could have prevented the whole thing by idk say NOT bringing a device that has a huge ass stigma out. Seriously bad idea...
 
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