Silicon Valley police have been called in to investigate a recent incident where a missing iPhone 4G prototype was found and sold to tech site Gizmodo for thousands of dollars, according to reports.
It is believed that Apple software engineer Gray Powell left the device in a German beer garden in Redwood City while out testing it in the field. The person who eventually found it then flogged the handset to Gizmodo for $5,000, although the site has now returned it to Apple.
Now Cnet is claiming that after being contacted by Apple, a computer crime task force led by the Santa Clara County district attorney's office is investigating whether there is enough evidence for criminal charges to be filed.
However, according to a Bloomberg report, Gizmodo still hasn't been contacted by the police.
The newswire contacted Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, which has jurisdiction over Redwood City, but he declined to say whether there is an investigation.
"If there is a case that is investigated and able to be submitted for prosecution, it will be handled by this office," he told Bloomberg.
The incident shows just how high the stakes are with regards to getting a sneak peek at unreleased Apple products. Cupertino is notoriously secretive about forthcoming products and the incident will have caused anger and embarrassment at the tech giant, which likes to have an iron-like grip on its product news cycle.
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