Court docs: iPhone finder had no pity for Powell

Friends told police Brian Hogan allegedly knew early who owned the lost iPhone prototype, but brushed off attempts to return it, court records show.

Records released Friday in the ongoing investigation into a lost prototype iPhone painted an unfavorable picture of Brian Hogan, the 21-year-old student who found the device and later sold it to a gadget blog.

Brian Hogan, the person who has acknowledged finding and selling the iPhone. Hogan's Facebook photo

According to police records released as part of an affidavit in San Mateo County (Calif.) Superior Court, Hogan's roommate, Katherine Martinson, told authorities that Hogan knew the identity of the owner very soon after finding the handset but had no intention of returning it. Robert Gray Powell, a 27-year-old Apple engineer, lost the phone in March after a night of drinking in a Redwood City, Calif., bar.

After Hogan found the phone and realized it was a prototype, Martinson told police that she and other friends tried to talk Hogan out of selling the phone, court documents show. She worried that it might harm Powell's career. According to her statement to police, Hogan said: "Sucks for him. He lost his phone. Shouldn't have lost his phone."

Jeff Bornstein, Hogan's attorney, said that his client made a mistake but didn't commit a crime.

"I think that it is unfortunate that the case is being tried in the media," Bornstein said. "I'm hopeful the district attorney will soon give us an opportunity to explain the facts to him. I think what's in that search warrant and affidavit are based on witness statements that may not be accurate."

"Sucks for him. He lost his phone. Shouldn't have lost his phone."
--Katherine Martinson, in police documents quoting her roommate, Brian Hogan

Katie Cotton, Apple's top public relations representative, told CNET: "We reported what we believe is a crime and the district attorney from San Mateo County is taking it from there."

What is clear from documents released (PDF) Friday, as a result of a motion filed by a consortium of media companies that included CNET, is that Martinson played a pivotal role in bringing much of the case to light.

Contrary to previously published reports, Apple did not send security personnel to search Hogan's home, or at least they weren't uninvited. It was Martinson who first contacted Apple, records show. According to the police records, Martinson was worried that she could be implicated in a illegal scheme when Hogan connected the prototype iPhone to her computer.

She believed that by doing it, authorities could track her IP address. Martinson declined to comment on the case Friday.

 

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