Young man who found lost iPhone has regrets

Photo courtesy of Wired.com

April 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Brian Hogan, 21, of Redwood City has emerged as the person who got $5,000 for the iPhone prototype lost by an Apple engineer earlier this month at a German beer garden.

Gawker Media acknowledges making the payment so it could reveal the features of what's widely assumed to be the next version of the iPhone coming out later this year. The prototype appeared on the tech blog Gizmodo, which is owned by Gawker Media.

Hogan's attorney, Jeffrey Bornstein, says Hogan regrets what happened. Hogan has talked to police and, according to Bornstein "is cooperating fully" with investigators.

Hogan lives with his parents in a middle class neighborhood of Redwood City, not more than a couple of miles from Gourmet Haus Staudt, where the iPhone prototype was lost. No one answered the door at the Hillview Avenue house this afternoon and evening. A childhood friend, Earl Powell, described Hogan as a nice guy who probably knew the device would be of interest to tech bloggers.

While no charges have been filed against Hogan so far, San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe says the investigation continues. The case has been slowed over a legal dispute over the seizure last Friday of computers and related equipment from the Fremont home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, who is seen holding the iPhone prototype in a video posted on the tech site. Gawker Media is trying to have the search warrant and computer seizure quashed on the grounds they violate the state's reporter shield law.

One thing is certain. Hogan is no longer welcome at the beer garden in Redwood City. The owners say they don't want someone on their premises who has stolen someone else's property.

The moral question of returning lost property was raised by a number of people interviewed by ABC7 News this evening. Many said it was a big mistake and an important lesson for a young man, who may have been more intrigued by the value of having a secret prototype that he could offer to a tech-oriented news outlet.


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