Note that the person that found the phone is NOT the person who the police/apple are going ape on.
Guy loses phone in bar. Another guy picks it up. Tech blog buys the phone - and immediately tries twice to contact apple to return it. While they have the phone (since apple ignored their repeated requests to return it) they did a blog post.
When word leaks out, Apple asks for the phone back. The blogger immediately returns it.
If you think this is about theft, you're way off base. This is Apple playing heavy with a blogger who leaked info they didn't like. If you think it's about 'theft' they should go after they guy in the bar who picked it up. But they're going after the blogger. This is about the blog post, not theft.
The blogger tried to return the phone twice - and when Apple finally agreed to accept it back, the blogger immediately returned it. How's that 'theft' by anything other than a big stretch? And why does apple care about the theft - they've got their phone back? The answer of course, is that it's not about theft. It's about the blog post. And Apple's just using nasty tactics to preserve their secrecy - after the cat's out of the bag.