CNet has a nice summary of the main issues:
It seems like this "theft" is being blown way out of proportion, for several reasons:
1. The device in question is a cell phone.
2. The finder seems to have made several attempts to contact the apparent owner to return the device, and was told it wasn't theirs.
3. When the owner of the device did surface, the phone was immediately returned.
Regardless of what happened between #2 and #3 above, would the police normally waste any time on an incident like this?
Let me try to pre-emptively respond to some objections. Regarding #1, the only reason this particular cell phone was "valuable" was because of who it belonged to (Apple). If it had turned out to have been a fake, it would have been virtually worthless. So is this really a huge felony? Here's another example: Suppose the device in question had been a t-shirt (value $10), lost by some celebrity (say Brittney Spears). Of course, the t-shirt can be sold for outrageous sums of money on eBay or wherever, if it can be determined that the shirt is genuine. Is it a felony to sell the shirt? Is it really that big a deal? If the shirt was promptly returned to Brittney as soon as she came forward to claim it, would the police be giving this any attention at all?
I say no.