Steamboat Springs School District laptop recovered
Computer stolen in February 2009; SSN information not accessed
October 26, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The laptop containing 1,351 Social Security numbers that was stolen from the Steamboat Springs School District in a February 2009 burglary was recovered late last week, and detectives said they think the personal information on the computer never was accessed.
Steamboat Springs Police Department detectives arrested William Kelly Homer, a 22-year-old Steamboat Springs resident, on Thursday on suspicion of theft and second-degree burglary.
Homer, a 2006 Yampa Valley School graduate, will appear in Routt County Court this morning for arraignment. The Yampa Valley School is housed in the same building as the school district's offices that were burglarized.
The laptop belonged to District Finance Director Dale Mellor and had personal information from current and former school district employees. Mellor said a representative from the company that sold the laptop to the school helped track the theft.
The representative, who works for DakTech Computers, reportedly was stationed in Afghanistan with the National Guard when he stumbled across the laptop for sale on eBay. He realized the only computers sold by his company in Steamboat went to the school district, and he contacted his boss to see if any were missing.
That led to a conversation with the school district and detectives with the police department.
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Detective Nick Bosick said the computer was listed online for $675, with a starting bid of $475. There was a note on the site indicating the computer was being sold without a password.
Detectives set up a meeting to look at the laptop and agreed to buy it for $175, but Homer had a roommate show the laptop instead. When detectives tried to meet with Homer, he declined, until Detective Dave Kleiber told him they were the police and he needed to go to the police station, Bosick said.
"We interviewed him, and he more or less confessed to be the one who burglarized the school administrative building," Bosick said.
The detectives said the computer appeared to be password protected, and they don't think Homer was able to bypass the security.
"We spoke to him at length about that, and he couldn't get into the computer without the password and could never figure out how to do it," Bosick said. "He had put that on the Internet on the eBay description he put that he couldn't log into the computer and was just trying to get rid of it."
Mellor said detectives are checking with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to make sure the computer wasn't accessed.
The school district offered free credit monitoring to employees following the laptop theft to safeguard against identity theft. That credit monitoring expired after one year.