Stolen laptops contain data on 40,000 Chicago schools employees

April 6, 2007

Associated Press

Two laptop computers stolen from Chicago Public Schools headquarters Friday contain the names and Social Security numbers of about 40,000 current and former employees, officials said.

The theft occurred at the downtown offices about noon, and a suspect's image was captured by surveillance video, CPS said in a statement. No one was in custody late Friday and a Chicago police spokesman said he had no information on the theft.

The names and Social Security numbers belong to any current and former CPS employees who contributed to the system's Teacher Pension Fund from 2003 to 2006. That includes teachers, principals and assistant principals, the statement said. The laptops do not contain addresses or birth dates.

"We have no reason to believe the person knew what information is on there," District spokesman Michael Vaughn told the Chicago Tribune. He said the files containing personal information are password-protected.

"We're asking for everybody's help in apprehending the thief, and we want all of our affected employees to monitor their credit information," Andres Durbak, director of the CPS Bureau of Safety and Security, said in the statement.

The school system, the nation's third-largest, is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or the recovery of the computers.

CPS planned to e-mail all current employees about the thefts and to post information for former employees on its Web site.

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