Rob:

Obscure question.

If you need to ask, maybe you actually know the answer.

My personal feeling is, the climber in question was foolish to say the least, but taking the gear would be unethical.

I think I've twice bootied a small amount of gear that in retrospect, I now consider theft and ethically horrenous.

State rangers have, at times, acted with questionable ethics too. Fortunately they haven't tortured or beaten people, at least that I'm aware of.......