October 22, 2014

Elyria
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Police seek leads in state computer theft

COLUMBUS — Police investigating the theft of a computer backup device containing personal information on state employees and family members are going door-to-door and mailing postcards with tip line information to dig up new leads.
The card says “WE NEED YOUR HELP” in bold letters and asks anyone with information to call the toll-free line, Ohio Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Tony Bradshaw said. It also tells the thief or thieves that they can return the device anonymously by mailing it to a Columbus post office box.
The device was stolen June 10 from a state intern’s unlocked car at an apartment complex in suburban Hilliard. The theft prompted Gov. Ted Strickland to hire an independent computer security expert to determine whether someone would be able to access the device’s data.
The tape contained personal information on state employees and the names and Social Security numbers of 225,000 taxpayers.
Hilliard police and the state patrol have handed the card to about 400 people and mailed it to 560 homes in the area, Bradshaw said. The tip line is (877) 647-4683.
State officials continue to say they have no reason to believe the data on the device have been compromised, because accessing it requires special equipment and expertise.
As of Friday, about 59,000 people had started the process of enrolling in identity-theft protection services offered through the state, said Ron Sylvester, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Administration Services.