No ID theft in Capo break-in

December 29, 2006

Sam Miller

No cases of identity theft have been reported since five computers were stolen from the Capistrano Unified School District office in an October burglary, officials said.

Meanwhile, the district last week installed "bullet- and bomb-proof" window guards to prevent more burglaries at the San Juan Capistrano site, which saw four break-ins in its first four months.

"There was a possibility that there was some information on them that could have been related to retirees," said Jeff Bristow, chief compliance officer for the district and superintendent of the administration building.

"The good news: Nothing has happened since then to give us any concern that any of the files that were potentially on any of the computers have been used for anything related to identity theft."

One break-in occurred early Oct. 4, when a window in the insurance department was smashed. Drops of blood were found near the window.

Five computers valued at a total of about $5,000 were taken.

Police said they were still investigating the case.

School district officials worried that the computers could have sensitive spreadsheets that had been copied from district servers.

They sent letters to current and former employees, and had a dozen meetings with people who could be affected. Representatives from the district's insurance department explained the risks and showed ways to track whether one's identity had been stolen by putting an alert on one's Social Security number.

"There were a few people who were upset: 'Why didn't you protect the building better?' But they were relatively few," Bristow said. "The majority were appreciative of all the steps the district was doing that were not required."

Since then, no employees have reported problems, Bristow said.

The district hired a security company to watch the building after the break-in. The new window guards should prevent smash-and-grab break-ins, he said.

About 30 windows including in the personnel, business services and insurance departments were bolstered with a film made by Ace Security Laminates of Orange County, at a cost of about $500 per window, Bristow said.

The film is a three-layer polyester laminate that, when sprayed on the district's 1/4 -inch windows, makes them resistant to impact.

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