theft charge still sounds a bit flakey...
"So the guy eyes a scoop and the phone takes a bit of a round trip before being returned to the aloof *owner*?"
Guy finds phone, works out what it is. Does he rifle through all the personal data on it to find owner? Haven't actually read that as a confirmed fact anywhere, and Facebook app to facebook page sounds a bit tenuous esp. on a lab toy. Was the person in possession of the phone the owner? Apple Dev Prototype, probably Apple would not think so... Give it to the bartender ? hmmmm, maybe but will s/he understand the significance of the item as the finder has and really make sure it gets where it should? And what was the person carrying it doing with it outside of Apple Labs anyway? Definitely the one who dropped it will be freaking out if they borrowed it against the rules, so what to do? Really, seems like this is Apple's toy...
Ok, call Apple ... "piss off mate, doesn't sound like one of ours. No, you can't talk to Steve about it.. <click>."
F it, this seems like a big deal, but can't find the right people to listen, and gotta get back to work.. Tech blogs oughta care... hmmm, Endg might be interested, but Gizm will give $5000 finders fee and take over returning to the right people for sure. sorted.
So Gizm does go through the personal data, does call the guy, does get referred to Apple legal, does say "how do we know its really yours, please put that in writing", does return the phone.
Disassembled, photographed, reassembled, spread photos all over the web while in their possession? Yes, but law doesn't appear to mention that, looks like gotta give it back in ostensibly the same condition as found. Law doesn't appear to say "get it back to the owner in the smartest, most efficient way possible and don't be assholes about it or take advantage of the situation while you're at it".
Corporate secrets issues and journalistic options around that as mentioned are some other question, but nowhere does anyone seem to say that Gizm intended to keep the device from the rightful owner(s).