Not guilty plea from those accused over iPhone 4 prototype lost in bar case

The two men accused of theft of an iPhone 4 prototype last year have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The iPhone 4 in question was left in a bar by Apple employee Robert Gray Powell in Redwood City, California. The two men, Brian Hogan (pictured above) and Robert Sage Wallover will face charges of midemeanors rather than felonies.

At an arraignment here this morning, lawyers for 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.

Gizmodo subsequently bought the iPhone 4 prototype from the two men and the rest as they say is history. No charges were ever filed against Gizmodo however, under California law, any person that finds lost property and is aware who the owner is likely to be and “appropriates such property for his own use”, is guilty of theft. Also any person who knowingly receives property that has been received illegally can face prison for up to one year.

Anyone have strong feelings one way or the other how this one will end up?


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UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Reader comments

Not guilty plea from those accused over iPhone 4 prototype lost in bar case


Okay, it's like this: Guy loses iPhone in bar, guy finds it, and sticks around the bar trying to return it (remember, it looked like a 3GS). Guy says he'll take it home and try to find the owner. He realizes it is a prototype and calls Apple! They said, "what prototype? You don't have one." They relinquished ownership, so he sold it. Then Apple goes, oh wait, that's ours. Well, too late! That's called entrapment. I would have put in a "not guilty" plea too.

You need to learn what entrapment is! Entrapment is when the POLICE make you commit a crime that you otherwise would not have committed. I'm sure there is a little more grey area when you are dealing with a corporation who is trying to protect intellectual property by denying any knowledge of a prototype device!

I did know the definition, but would you not agree that the concept is similar and that there is probably a law and/or protection against it?

an idiot got drink and left it in a bar.. enough said!! the apple employee should be the one on the hook here.

Why do these smart asses from apple don't set up a bar at Cupertino so that they don't loose any of their prototypes. I think they're playing it for all media attention.

If you had read the article, genius, it asks "Anyone have any strong feelings..." he's responding to that. He doesn't.

I don't know about any of you but I would rather hear about what happened to the apple employee who lost the phone in the first place. I would have hated to be in his shoes when the almighty Steve Jobs found out who he was.

Ahhh the generous nature of a super-secretive corporation that literally does everything they can say, "No that isn't ours. For sure you are mistaken. We don't respond to rumors and fishing attempts by phone or any other method." This case is for sure a waste of the courts time. Moving on.

One possible legal theory that the defendants might use is that of "Finders Keepers." Basically, the finder of unclaimed or abandoned property can gain legal possession of said property. The application of this doctrine varies by state.