According to numerous online reports, the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office is looking into whether any criminal laws were broken as part of Gizmodo’s purchase of an iPhone prototype.
Gizmodo said it received the device from the person who found it at a bar in Redwood City, Calif. A software developer from Apple reportedly had left the prototype behind while celebrating his 27th birthday. It was later revealed that Gizmodo purchased the device for $5,000 from someone who said they found it at the bar.
According to a report from CNET, the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office has enlisted the help of a computer crime task force to discern whether any illegal activity took place. CNET notes that a California law dating back to 1872 states that any person who finds lost property and knows who the owner is likely to be but “appropriates such property to be his own use” is guilty of theft.
Gizmodo confirmed its claims that the prototype was indeed an Apple original by requesting an on-record letter from the company. Apple responded with a letter that stated the device belonged to the company and it wanted it returned.
There was no immediate word on whether the investigation was targeting Gizmodo or the person who originally found the prototype.