To wit: Ignoring that the phone was stolen. California criminal law could not be more clear: the finder of a lost item must either return it to the owner or hand it over to the police; to do anything else is theft. “Finder keepers, losers weepers” is not the law. You don’t have to break into someone’s house or pickpocket them to steal a phone. If you pick up a lost phone and treat it as your own, you’ve stolen it.
Jason Chen did not “find himself in possession” of a prototype iPhone. Jason Chen and Gizmodo bought a prototype iPhone from someone whom they knew had stolen it.
Look, you don’t have to agree with me or Gruber on this. If you’re going to disagree, however, can we at least agree on a common set of facts? The damn phone didn’t magic itself into Gizmodo’s possession. They bought it, to the tune of five large.
But, hey, just a minor detail for a veteran journalist to gloss over.