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UVic employees' bank data stolen in weekend break-in

Jan 10 2012

More than 11,000 current and former employees at the University of Victoria are being urged to contact their banks after personal information including their names, social insurance numbers and bank data used for direct deposits was stolen in a weekend break-in.

The theft affects all employees paid by UVic since January 2011, said Gayle Gorrill, vice-president of finance and operations. This includes faculty, staff and any students who for a time were employed by the university.

"We're obviously very, very concerned," Gorrill said Monday, adding that administrators "sincerely regret that the incident occurred."

There is no indication that any employee has had personal information compromised, she said.

UVic has notified its employees and urged them to take action, she said.

"Our recommendation is they contact their financial information [representative], and their financial information will offer recommendations on what they should do ... and that could include closing an account and opening another account."

The theft occurred from the administrative services building at UVic sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning. An employee discovered the crime Sunday afternoon.

Among the things stolen were a safe, a small amount of cash, cheques and electronic devices. Gorrill would not comment on whether personal information was targeted by the thief or thieves, nor how the theft was possible without being spotted by security guards or setting off an alarm.

There are no identifying marks on the electronic devices, Gorrill said. "It may not be obvious that it came from the University of Victoria."

The current payroll is not affected, she said. Employees are getting information on how to continue receiving their paycheques if they change their bank accounts.

UVic is reviewing how to better protect employees' financial information.

Sgt. Dean Jantzen of Saanich police said the office had evidence of a forced entry and items were strewn about. He plans to release more information today, once he has been briefed by detectives.

Coincidentally, Victoria police said Monday an iMac computer stolen from the UVic campus was recovered Jan. 2 when an officer saw a man carrying it under a blanket at Quadra Street and Pandora Avenue.

"The suspect told the officer that he had found the computer nearby but a search of the suspect also turned up a bent screw driver, a flashlight, a surgical mask and a set of lock-picking tools," said the Victoria police operations blog.

A 52-year-old Victoria man is charged with possession of stolen property. His name has not been released but he was released on a promise to appear in court next month.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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