Police poised to expand iPhone investigation

Police poised to expand iPhone investigation

Summary: The criminal probe into Apple's errant iPhone prototype is expected to broaden, said a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

The criminal probe into Apple's errant iPhone prototype is expected to broaden, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNET.

San Mateo County's investigation may expand beyond Gawker Media's Gizmodo.com, which acknowledged buying the prototype for $5,000, and the unknown person who sold it to the gadget blog, the source said. Police obtained a warrant to search a Gizmodo editor's home on Friday evening.

CNET has not been able to confirm whether the felony investigation is targeting Gizmodo staff, the iPhone seller, or someone else. A blog post at NYTimes.com, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, said charges could be filed against the buyer of the phone--meaning Gizmodo employees.

Under a California law dating back to 1872, any person who finds lost property and knows who the owner is likely to be - but "appropriates such property to his own use" - is guilty of theft. There are no exceptions for journalists. In addition, a second state law says that any person who knowingly receives property that has been obtained illegally can be imprisoned for up to one year.

California law professors aren't convinced that Gizmodo committed a crime.

For more on this story, read Police poised to expand iPhone prototype probe on CNET News.

Topics: iPhone, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • It Wasn't STOLEN!!!

    It was found (listen carefully here, FOUND!!) in a bar after being left there. The finder tried to return it to apple TWICE and was blown off by the apple representitives he called. Gizmodo has a standing offer to buy unreleased apple products and when they bought it did not know if it was genuine or not. The California court of appeals ruled last year that bloggers are journalist's and have the same 1st amendment protections as print and broadcast news agencies. Bottom line;
    The guy found it (not stolen), tried to return it, sold it when the percieved owner indicated they didn't want it. I think the more interesting headline here is "GUESS WHO HAS THE SAN MATEO POLICE DEPT IN THEIR POCKET!!"

      If Apple called up the police and said "xxx phone has been stolen" and filed a police report it has been stolen.

      Doesn't matter what you think, in the eyes of the lat it was stolen the moment someone reported it as such.

      And Mr Gray has not come out and said he lost it so it may very well have been stolen.
      • Nope

        If you sold or gave something away then reported it stolen, YOU would be the one guilty of the crime of filing a false police report.
        Michael Kelly
        • Huh?

          Apple was the owner of the phone. Apple was the one who reported it stolen. They did so as soon as it was reported to it by the employee.

          Apple never sold or gave away the prototype.
    • Actually . . .

      . . . it's the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. Says so on the search warrant. (Hey, if you're going to go around acting like an authority on the facts, make sure you have them right.)
  • What if it wasn't a prototype iphone?

    What if an average Joe Smith walked into a bar and left his phone? How long would it sit there before someone took it? Let's say you have nude pictures of yourself on the phone, when you got the phone back, would you be thankful the person returned it or have the police storm the home of the man who picked it up and then confiscate his computer on the chance he might have taken the content off? Would a court even allow such an act? The answer is, "No"...Apple is manipulating the law in a way no individual could and that amounts to simple corporate bullying.

    That said, I have a prototype iPhone on me and I take it to a bar, then leave it? Suspicious. more likely the person with the phone was stalked and pick-pocketed. We all know it. Even though this is the case however, the sad reality is they have no proof.

    I'm sure this "search" of the home was to try and get evidence the phone was stolen not found. But the legality of the means by which they are trying to get this information is loathsome and wrong.