Police in Silicon Valley have begun investigating the story behind the prototype iPhone that eventually made its way into the hands of Gizmodo. According to CNET, Apple has already spoken to the police, and the computer task force under the command of the Stana Clara County District Attorney’s office is exploring if criminal charges will be necessary.
It remains unclear if the investigation is focused on Gizmodo, the individual who sold them the iPhone, or perhaps, both.
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. If the value of the property exceeds $400, more serious charges of grand theft can be filed. 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.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Our guess is that nothing of note will come of this investigation, and it seems far-fetched that Apple itself would file civil charges against Gizmodo. Still, it might be fun to watch the folks over at Gawker sweat a little bit.