Participants in iPhone Sale Identified

Snapshot from Sage Wallower for UC Berkeley student senate advertisement.
Snapshot from Sage Wallower for UC Berkeley student senate advertisement.

Just in case he bumps into Steve Jobs at the local coffee shop, the 21-year-old Silicon Valley resident who sold an Apple iPhone prototype to a technology Web site now regrets not doing more to find the device's owner, according to a report in Wired News.

Redwood City, Calif. resident Brian J. Hogan said through his attorney that he thought there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press, according to Wired.

Hogan does not face criminal charges in the case, in which the iPhone was lost by an Apple engineer last month. Authorities in San Mateo County are now investigating the incident as a possible theft.

The lawyer's statement issued to Wired recounted a chronology in which Hogan reportedly was handed the phone by another patron who had found the device. Hogan was then asked whether the phone was his. The lawyer said Hogan subsequently asked other people in the bar if they knew who owned the unit. He later left the bar with the iPhone.

Meanwhile, CNET reports that Sage Robert Wallower, a 27-year-old Berkeley student, helped Hogan contact technology web sites in hopes of finding a buyer.

"In an in-person interview with CNET at his home in Oakland on Thursday, Wallower said: "I'm not the person who found it. I didn't see it or touch it in any manner. But I know who found it." He declined to identify anyone else, however, in part because he said conversations with law professors had convinced him that Apple was a "legal juggernaut."

"I need to talk to a lawyer," Wallower said. "I think I have already said too much."

A computer-crime task force last Friday searched the house and car belonging to Gizmodo editor and blogger Jason Chen in Fremont, Calif. Gizmodo had earlier posted photos of an Apple device that appeared to be a next-generation iPhone. The publication bought the unit for $5,000, but later returned the device to Apple.
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    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.