Yesterday, news surfaced that the unthinkable had happened – an Apple employee had lost yet another iPhone prototype after an evening out in a bar. Last year, Gizmodo famously published photos of pre-production iPhone 4 it obtained after paying someone a few grand for the device.
That “someone”, it later turned out, was a then 21-year old kid named Brian Hogan.
As the story goes, Hogan picked up the iPhone 4 when an Apple engineer inadvertently left it at a bar after a night of birthday revelry. Upon examining the device and removing the case, Hogan soon realized that he was potentially in possession of something that could net him a lot of money. After a half-hearted attempt to get the device back to Apple (i.e calling Apple Care but failing to contact the bar where he found the device), Hogan conspired with a friend named Sage Robert Wallower, a former Navy cryptologic technician, to contact a number of tech blogs in an attempt make a profit off of their new-found prize. Notably, Engadget balked at the device realizing it presented a wide range of thorny legal issues while Gizmodo had no qualms about receiving what one could reasonably construe was stolen property.
Now, a little more than a year later, both Hogan and Wallower are being charged with misdemeanor theft charges resulting from the iPhone 4 sale that made headlines worldwide last year.
Earlier today, CNET reported that both Hogan and Wallower plead not-guilty before Superior Court Judge Jonathan Karesh.
Jeff Bornstein, a criminal defense lawyer at K&L Gates in San Francisco who is representing Hogan, told CNET after the arraignment that he welcomed the district attorney’s decision to file the charges as misdemeanors rather than felonies. That shows prosecutors are “sensitive to the facts and circumstances” of the case, he said.
A pretrial conference for the case is scheduled for October 11 followed by a trial date of November 28.