SELMA, N.C. — Authorities in Selma are trying to find the person, or maybe persons, who made off with computers that contain personal information for dozens of emergency workers in town.
The laptops, stolen from public buildings, have files that contain Social Security numbers, names, dates of birth—all the information needed to steal someone’s identity.
The EMS data was taken when Selma Rescue Squad members answered a call during a meeting at their station in the Johnston County community. Paramedic and training officer David Lane left his laptop computer in the common area and discovered it was gone when the crew returned. The machine contained data on all 30 squad members.
On New Year's Eve, someone stole a computer from the town's water treatment plant. That one contained similar personal information from Selma firefighters.
“It makes me nauseated” to know someone took the data, Lane said.
Police say one possibility they are considering is that the thefts involved someone who works for the town or otherwise knew the EMS workers were meeting.
“I am looking into that possibility.... We had another laptop of a similar nature taken from another government building here in town, so it's definitely a possibility," said Sgt. Ward Creech of the Selma police.
Asked if the two thefts are related, Creech said, “I wouldn't rule it out.”
Investigators say they are following up several leads, but have no suspects in either case.
In addition to the stolen laptops, police say someone broke into the Selma Public Utilities building two weeks ago. They're still trying to determine if that case could be related.
“If it gets in the wrong hands, it could be detrimental to everyone,” Lane said of the data.
He posted a note at the EMS station, warning paramedics to keep an eye on their credit reports. So far, no emergency worker has reported any problems with identity theft.
Town officials are also keeping a closer eye on computers.