Republicans’ Capitol Hill offices being burgled: An inside job?

posted at 10:41 am on May 17, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

It appears that our Congresspeople, et al, have a thief in their midst. (Or is it, thieves?) Highly irregular, this:

Puzzling break-ins over the last month at the offices of at least three House members and several committees have U.S. Capitol Police gumshoes working to find a pattern and the culprits, with missing items ranging from cash and expensive computer equipment to autographed baseballs and alcohol.

In at least four of the cases, thieves broke into the offices at night when doors were locked, leading some staffers to believe they were victims of an inside job.

“The evidence points to someone with access to my office, and other offices in the Capitol complex, as the perpetrator,” freshman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., surmised in a letter to the House’s Office of the Chief Administrative Officer.

Other offices hit—many of which handle information dealing with issues of national security, though nothing of a sensitive nature was reportedly taken—include those of Reps. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and Jon Runyan, R-N.J.; the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security; and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. …

In each case, items stolen were high in street value. Computer monitors, cameras, and cash were taken most frequently; other items included blazers, personal iPods, and in three cases, alcohol. Lewis’s office reportedly lost four signed baseballs, six bottles of wine, and a $200 set of presidential Easter eggs. In at least four cases, thieves broke into the offices during the evening while doors were locked.

So, what do you think? A routine D.C.-style grab-and-go pilferage by random passers-by, maintenance crew, or the like; or, are the street-value items perhaps just a red herring for something more… pernicious? Rep. Lewis is on the House Appropriations Committee,  Rep. Gowdy the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Rep. Runyan the House Armed Services Committee, and a couple of those committee rooms were burgled, too — but there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that data of a sensitive nature could have been compromised. Our crime-filled nation’s capital is fraught with break-ins on a daily basis, including the Capitol Hill neighborhood, but, c’mon… Capitol offices? Those would have to be some of the more audacious thieves in the history of thievery.


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