City of Milwaukee Recovers Sensitive Stolen Thumb Drive
Thousands of City of Milwaukee employees risked having their personal information accessed after a thumb drive loaded with confidential data was stolen last fall, but now there's cause for relief: Police have made an arrest in that theft and recovered the drive, and there is no evidence suggesting that the thief exploited the personal data.
Mayor Tom Barrett announced the good news today in a press release, which is reprinted below.
Milwaukee — The Milwaukee Police Department has arrested a 17-year-old male for his role in the theft of a thumb drive containing the personal information of thousands of City of Milwaukee employees and their spouses. The thumb drive, a laptop computer, and a computer bag were stolen when a Dynacare Laboratories employee’s car was stolen on October 22. The vehicle and laptop were recovered on November 10 and MPD was first made aware the thumb drive was in the stolen vehicle on November 15, 24 days after the theft.
Officers recovered the stolen thumb drive and computer bag from a residence in the 4900 block of N. 20th Street on January 6 while investigating violent felony crimes. A search warrant was obtained prior to MPD’s forensic analysis of the thumb drive. While additional forensic analysis is ongoing, there is no evidence at this time that the data contained on the thumb drive was accessed.
“I appreciate the good work of the Milwaukee Police Department and am extremely pleased the jump drive has been recovered,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “I hope this brings peace of mind to the thousands of City of Milwaukee employees and their spouses who feared their personal information had been compromised.”
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn applauded the department’s work. “It’s not surprising that stolen property was found as part of a separate investigation. That’s why our officers thoroughly follow-up on criminal matters, even though it took weeks for our department to be notified of the stolen data. Our diligence led to the successful recovery.”
Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr. and Alderman Michael J. Murphy joined Mayor Barrett and Chief Flynn in expressing their gratitude and relief. “I want to thank the Milwaukee Police Officers who located and secured the thumb drive,” Alderman Hines said. “Those officers found the needle in the hay stack and, by doing so, have provided City employees with a much needed sigh of relief.”
“The professionalism and investigative follow-through of the Milwaukee Police Department cannot be overlooked in this case, and I applaud and thank the officers involved with the recovery of the jump drive,” Alderman Murphy said. “It is now my sincere hope that further investigation will show that the city employee data it contains was not compromised. The recovery of the drive in no way absolves Dynacare of its legal and moral responsibility to protect that data, and it will never erase the immense stress and anxiety it has caused city employees and their families.”
The suspect is facing charges of receiving stolen property and felony bail jumping. He is a habitual auto thief. An investigation continues into how the thumb drive came into his possession. The case will be referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office in the coming days.