Steve Wozniak: "Steve Jobs and I Were Once Robbed at Gunpoint Outside a Pizza Parlor"

Illustration for article titled Steve Wozniak: Steve Jobs and I Were Once Robbed at Gunpoint Outside a Pizza Parlor

Were Apple’s co-founders robbed at gunpoint outside a pizza parlor? That, at least, is what Steve Wozniak told Jimmy Fallon and Seth Rogen during a game of “True Confessions” on Friday’s episode of The Tonight Show.

Fallon, an expert interrogator, managed to extract a lot of details about the incident during the one-minute question and answer period. It took place in Sunnyvale, California in 1972. The two young tech entrepreneurs were about to drive away in Steve Jobs’ Dodge Dart, having just eaten a pepperoni pizza.

“Steve ate pepperoni,” Fallon asked incredulously?

“This is Steve Zero,” Wozniak replied. “Before Apple.”

The incident took on an extra significance after the interrogation was over, when Wozniak elaborated that the man with the gun. “only stole one thing, one of these little devices for making free calls that I had built, and then he came back to the car and gave us his name and phone number. I think he was half honest—he said he wanted to pay for it but he didn’t have the money right now.”


Skip to 6:25 in the video below to hear the entire confession.

The other, other, actually good Steve Jobs film starring Rogen as Woz hits theaters Friday.

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Steve Wozniak

At the corner of Homestead and Stelling (if my memory is accurate), in a strip-mall with Lesters grocery store and Grants department store was a pizza parlor, maybe Round Table. This was in 1972. As we ate pizza we saw a group of 3 black-skinned guys and Jobs got the idea that they might buy a blue box from us and save us an hour’s journey up to the Berkeley dorms to find a buyer. We told these guys what we had and they wanted to see how it worked. We demonstrated it in a back room with a pay phone, making a call to Chicago that did not go through actually. They said that they didn’t have the money to buy it, so Steve and I departed for our car.

One of the guys came over to the car. My memory is hazy. I might have been driving. The guy wanted to talk to us. He made his black gun barrel visible in the door/window area (I’d lowered the window) and said that he wanted the blue box but didn’t have $150. Steve Jobs handed it right to him, no questions, no arguments. The guy left our car and we sat there stunned and amazed.

Then the guy came back and gave us a phone number, saying his name was Charles. He said that he needed to know how to use this device.

We did call that number twice, at least, once from Steve’s bedroom and once from my dorm room. We’d ask for “Charles” and be given another number to call, which was a pay phone because it was xxx-99xx, which was the formula for pay phones in our area. The guy wanted us to tell him how to use the blue box and Jobs wanted him to meet us in a public place to give it back.

If we had made a 3rd call to him I was going to tell Charles 2 methods to use the blue box, one of which would get him caught and the other which would get him arrested. But we just gave up on that blue box.