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Laptop with Missouri National Guard members’ information stolen from car in Columbia

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | 6:56 p.m. CDT; updated 4:37 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia police are investigating the theft of a laptop containing vital information on up to 2,000 Missouri National Guard members and their families.

The laptop and external hard drive were left in the car of a Missouri Guard member on July 13.

Among the data contained on the laptop were “members of the Missouri Army National Guard names, Social Security numbers and military units of assignment,” said Capt. Jamie Melchert, a spokesman for the Missouri National Guard.

According to Sgt. Ken Hammond of Columbia Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit, the theft is thought to have occurred between 11 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday.

Other items missing from the soldier’s car include a MP3 player, an adapter, computer attachments and paperwork.

“It appears that this vehicle was randomly chosen because it was unlocked,” Hammond said.

The soldier notified Columbia authorities at 7:22 a.m. when he discovered items were missing.

As of Wednesday evening, there were no reports that the data has been misused. Every soldier and their family potentially affected by the data theft will be contacted this week.

There were no witnesses and no descriptions of the suspect, police said.

Columbia police are working with the Missouri National Guard and FBI offices in Jefferson City on the case. No arrests have been made.

To submit a tip regarding the theft, call the Columbia Crimestoppers at 875-8477.

Detailed steps that Guard members and their families can take to protect their personal and financial information is available at moguard.com.


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