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Suspects plead not guilty in lost iPhone 4 prototype case

Last year tech blog Gizmodo turned up with an iPhone 4 prototype in its possession. It was subsequently accused of receiving stolen goods. Last month, San Mateo County district attorney Steven Wagstaffe, having reviewed all the evidence, decided that no crime had been committed by Gizmodo.

Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower haven’t been quite so lucky. They’ve been accused of selling the iPhone 4 prototype to Gizmodo for $5,000. On Thursday the pair pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft charges.

A report by The Examiner says prosecutors allege that 22-year-old Hogan came across the phone in a bar in Redwood, near San Francisco, in March last year. It is believed to have been left by an Apple employee who’d been testing the device prior to its release.

Prosecutors are accusing Hogan and his friend, 28-year-old Wallower, of then selling it on to Gizmodo. Both guys face a misappropriation of lost property charge. Wallower is also charged with being in possession of stolen property.

According to district attorney Steven Wagstaffe, Hogan and Wallower should have tried to return the prototype to Apple instead of selling it.

The Examiner reports that Jeffrey Bornstein, acting as Hogan’s attorney, released a statement in August saying that Hogan was “extremely remorseful.”

“Although we do not believe that charges of any kind should have been filed, Brian fully accepts responsibility for his actions,” Bornstein said in the statement.

The judge set a pretrial conference date for October 11, with the trial date set for November 28.

The news comes just days after it emerged that another Apple employee left another prototype in another bar. Although the phone’s GPS signal led investigators to an address in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights district, they still couldn’t find the device. It’s thought that it could be the much-anticipated iPhone 5, likely to be launched in the coming weeks.