Caterpillar Says Employee Data Stolen

April 27, 2007

Associated Press

Caterpillar Inc. said late Friday that a laptop computer containing personal data on employees was stolen from a benefits consultant that works with the company.

Caterpillar spokesman Rusty Dunn declined to provide many details Friday.

"This is an open investigation and we're not prepared to get into any specifics," Dunn said.

He said one laptop computer was stolen earlier this month, but didn't say where the theft took place or identify the consultant.

Dunn declined to say how many employees were affected. He said the majority are based in the U.S. and letters have been sent to notify them. Dunn said a call center is being established to take their inquiries.

The Peoria-based heavy-equipment maker said in a release that it did not believe the computer was targeted for the data, nor does it believe the data has been accessed or used.

"We deeply regret that this incident occurred," Caterpillar Human Services Division Vice President Sid Banwart said in the release. "We are putting in place an enhanced level of protection for this type of personal data."

A message left Friday at the Peoria office of the United Auto Workers union, which represents a number of Caterpillar employees in Illinois, was not returned.

Caterpillar has more than 90,000 employees around the world, according to its Web site.

The company announced the theft after financial markets closed Friday. Shares closed at $73.76, up 76 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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