It's not hyporitical at all. You are presuming that the man that was searched was guilty. What if he is innocent? Should he not be PRESUMED innocent?
He IS presumed innocent. He wasn't even arrested. (yet?) Nowhere does WaltC imply that this guy was guilty. He was making a point that, according to you (swiff), it's ok for some random hacker to illegally "search and sieze" Valve's property, but it's not ok for the government to LEGALLY do the same thing. I agree with him that it is hypocritical.
Valve is not at all responsible for "ruining his life". If he is innocent, it's the responsibility of the true thief, for if the theft had never taken place the status quo would have been maintained. But instead a law was broken and now the normal investigation of such a crime must be carried out or else the signal will be sent out that corporate espionage won't be punished and is "ok".
You seem to have totally missed the entire point of WaltC's post, which was a more general explanation of why such crimes are prosecuted (deterrence).
So no, you don't set the value of the property you own. The government and insurance companies do.
He wasn't talking about monetary value, he was talking about total value, including emotional value, etc. Someone earlier (might have been you, swiff) said something about stealing the blade's of grass from someone's lawn. You may think they're just blades of grass, but it's not YOUR place to put a value on those blades of grass, it's their owner's place. If they want to put them in a safe in their basement after mowing the lawn and put them in their children's inheretence, that's THEIR business, and you have no right stealing them, even if you consider them worthless.
Swiffer, you're just an idiot.