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Police Raid Blogger’s Home In Lost iPhone Case

April 27, 2010

Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, who last week posted photos of a next-generation Apple iPhone prototype, had his home raided by law enforcement officials exercising a search warrant on Monday.

The search warrant gave police officers permission to search Chen’s home and seize property that was “used as the means of committing a felony” or “tends to show that a felony has been committed,” according to information posted on the tech website.

“The officers had a computer and were cataloging all the items they took from my home,” Chen told the AFP on Monday. “They told me they were here for a few hours already and had to break the front door open because I wasn’t home to open the door.”

Four computers, a pair of servers, some digital cameras, and a cell phone were among the items seized in connection to the prototype phone, which was reported stolen.

The fourth generation iPhone had reportedly been found by an unknown individual at a bar in Redwood City, then sold to Gizmodo for $5,000. Apple later confirmed that the device belonged to them and was lost by a 27-year-old engineer named Gray Powell. They asked for the device back, and according to Chen, it was indeed returned.

In a letter to San Mateo County officials, Gaby Darbyshire, the COO of Gizmodo’s parent company, Gawker Media, accused law enforcement of violating state and federal law, stating that a “search warrant may not be validly issued to confiscate the property of a journalist.”

“It is abundantly clear under the law that a search warrant to remove these items was invalid,” she added, according to BBC News, demanding the immediate return of the confiscated materials. “The appropriate method of obtaining such materials would be the issuance of a subpoena.”

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