Police have broken into the home of a technology blogger and seized computers and other items of interest related to the leak of photos and details of what is reportedly the next generation iPhone.
Gadget website Gizmodo said last week it paid US$5,000 for a prototype next-generation iPhone purportedly left in a Silicon Valley bar by one of Apple's engineers.
San Mateo police have confirmed that they have raided the home of the Gizmodo blogger responsible for the iPhone leak.
Stephen Wagstaffe, spokesman for the San Mateo County District Attorney's office, confirmed Friday's raid and said Apple had contacted his office to report the crime. But he did not elaborate on investigation details.
"The allegation was that there was a reasonable cause that a felony theft had occurred," he said. "This is the beginning of the investigation."
Apple, which was not available for comment, is expected to unveil the next-generation iPhone within months.
Trumpeted as a major scoop, Gizmodo's bloggers said they returned the device to Apple after an official request came from Cupertino, but not before taking it apart and reporting on the device's details.
One of the blog's editors, Jason Chen, said police seized four computers and two servers, an iPad, and other devices from his home last Friday.
According to a search warrant posted on gizmodo.com, the computers may contain photographs of Apple's "prototype 4G iPhone," as well as email pertaining to its purchase, call records, and research on Gray Powell, the Apple engineer who purportedly misplaced the device.
In a letter to the police also published on gizmodo.com, Gawker's Chief Operating Officer and legal counsel Gaby Darbyshire asserted the search and seizure was illegal under California law, because Chen works as a journalist for the publication, protecting him from such action.
(Reporting by Ian Sherr; Editing by Anshuman Daga).