Guy "Regrets" Selling iPhone Prototype To Gizmodo

The 21-year-old California man who found a prototype iPhone and then sold it to gadget site Gizmodo.com says he now regrets not attempting to return the phone to its rightful owner.

Talking through his lawyer yesterday, he admitted to Wired.com that he was paid by Gizmodo for what he believed was exclusive access to review the iPhone and that the site told him “there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press.”

“He regrets his mistake in not doing more to return the phone,” says Bornstein’s statement. “Even though he did obtain some compensation from Gizmodo, Brian thought that it was so that they could review the phone.”

The finder of the phone has been interviewed by police, but not yet charged. However, the cloud is not gone from over his head just yet.

Writes Wired:

The person who found the phone “is very definitely one of the people who is being looked at as a suspect in theft,” San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe told Wired.com Wednesday. “Assuming there’s ultimately a crime here. That’s what we’re still gauging, is this a crime, is it a theft?”

The finder made no direct effort to return the iPhone himself, though reports claim that a friend of his attempted to contact AppleCare to no avail. According to the owners of the bar where it had been found, he never told anyone there that he’d found the phone. If he had, he’d have learned that the Apple engineer who’d lost it had come back to the bar on several occasions to see if it had been found yet.

As reported earlier this week, police searched the home of the Gizmodo editor who wrote the story.

“This thing has gotten completely, completely out of control,” said the iPhone finder’s lawyer. “He made a mistake… He should have just immediately turned that phone in.”

iPhone Finder Regrets His ‘Mistake’ [Wired.com]