The incident regarding Gizmodo and an apparently "lost" iPhone prototype recently was very interesting, and not just because it was the first major leak to come out of Apple in a rather long time. A lot of people were interested in the circumstances around just how exactly the iPhone made its way from Apple to the gadget blog, especially considering the whole ordeal could be illegal, as a hefty sum of money was involved.
According to CNET, Apple has spoken to the police local to Santa Clara County regarding the event, and it is said that action is being taken by a "computer crime task force." So far, Gizmodo has failed to state exactly how they got the phone, though they've acknowledged that it was stolen, and have instead simply posted information about the engineer who lost the device. The whole incident has been scrutinized by members of the tech community, including a relatively detailed write up by John Gruber, while Gizmodo staff has been silent for the most part.
If all swings in Apple's favor, charges could certainly be filed, as the news website had the phone for a week before posting their write up – it certainly wouldn't take that long to verify its authenticity and have it returned to Apple; in addition to that, Californian law is in Apple's favor, which spells bad news for Gizmodo. A lost phone may seem like a small thing to make such a big deal out of, but as you'll be aware, Apple values the secrecy of its products extremely highly, so to have a late-design prototype of one of their best selling items in the hands of the press months before release must be rather infuriating for Steve Jobs and friends. Be sure to keep an eye out for any updates regarding this story, if you're interested in the outcome.