Wells Fargo Computer Theft Arrest

November 27, 2003

By Reuters


Police have arrested a California man in connection with a burglary in which a computer with sensitive information about Wells Fargo customers was stolen, officials said Wednesday.

Edward Jonathan Krastof, 38, was arrested at his home late on Tuesday in Concord, Calif., the same town where the computer was stolen earlier this month, said Concord Police Sergeant Steve White.

Krastof, who works at Home Depot, confessed to stealing the computer, as well as another computer and a laptop, after breaking into the office of an analyst for Wells Fargo, White said.

Police recovered the equipment at Krastof's home, along with equipment used for scanning identity cards and checks, he said.

"He is a low-level ID theft kind of guy," White said of Krastof.

Krastof told police that he did not know that sensitive data was on the computer, White said.

Wells Fargo will be able to keep the $100,000 reward it had offered in the case, since the arrest was made from regular police work and not a tip, White said.

Investigators traced the computer to Krastof when he logged onto his America Online account at home through one of the stolen computers, White said. That enabled authorities to connect the computer's Internet Protocol address, a number that identifies a computer on the Internet, to Krastof's home address through his AOL account, White said.

Data on the computer included names, addresses, account and social security numbers for people with personal lines of credit used for consumer loans and overdraft protection.

The bank has declined to say how many customers might be affected, but said it is a small percentage of their total 22 million customers.

Under a California law enacted earlier this year aimed at curtailing identity theft, companies are required to notify customers when their computerized personal information is believed to have been stolen.

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