House Burglaries Baffle Staff, Police

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., andJon Runyan, R-N.J.; the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security; and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Those looking for some common link might note that Lewis serves on Appropriations; Gowdy sits on Oversight; and Runyan is a member of the Armed Services Committee. Also, staffers on the House Oversight Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census, and the National Archives, which Gowdy chairs, reported that $200 of their money went missing during business hours.

But whether that may represent anything more than coincidence appears uncertain.

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.

Read more at the National Journal.