Given the hype the iPhone 5 (which, mind you, hasn’t even been announced) has incurred, the iPhone 4 isn’t getting much attention these days. But if you can, reach back to last year when Gizmodo was able to get its hands on a prototype iPhone 4–and was shortly thereafter on the chopping block for allegedly buying stolen property.
Gizmodo was accused of receiving stolen merchandise from a man later identified as Brian Hogan, warrants were issued (and retracted), apartments were searched, and the case has dragged on since. Today, the site is officially off the hook. “We are pleased that the District Attorney of San Mateo County, Steven Wagstaffe, has decided, upon review of all of the evidence, that no crime was committed by the Gizmodo team in relation to its reporting on the iPhone 4 prototype last year. While we have always believed that we were acting fully within the law, it has inevitably been stressful for the editor concerned, Jason Chen, and we are glad that we can finally put this matter behind us,” says Gawker Media, Gizmodo’s parent company.
Unfortunately, the guys that actually pilfered the phone and offered it up to various sites for a price aren’t getting off so easy. Misdemeanor theft charges have been filed against Hogan and Sage Wallower. If you recall, Hogan claimed to have found the phone left by an Apple engineer at a bar. He then took it, looped Wallower in, and they conspired to sell photos and the device to tech publications. Gizmodo seized the opportunity (for a reported $5,000), but was eventually forced to hand the device back over to Apple.
Check out the District Attorney’s statement below.