However, some new information discovered by Wired suggests that the story may be more complicated than that. They have heard claims from an anonymous source that Apple already knew the identity of the person who found the iPhone, and allegedly sold it to Gizmodo. Someone identifying themselves as being affiliated with Apple apparently arrived at the finder's house in Silicon Valley last week, looking for the finder (and possibly the phone) but finding only a roommate, who didn't let them in.
Wired's source also says that the person who found the phone never tried to keep it a secret and even contacted Apple and searched Facebook for someone to return the phone to. When money finally changed hands (from Gizmodo), Wired's source says it was "for exclusivity," and not for a sale of the actual device.
Of course, this is all a mix of hearsay and conjecture, spoken by an anonymous source who may or may not know about the case. The bottom line at this point is that the police investigation is underway. If they find evidence that makes them believe a crime was committed, then we'll see them take action. Until then, though, it's unclear exactly what happened with the iPhone's finder and whether the "sale" was illegal or not.
[via Business Journal]