Police have recovered a stolen computer holding the names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers of Modesto City Schools' 3,500 employees.
The computer was stolen last month from a Southern California data processing company.
The Fullerton Police Department announced Monday that tracking software installed on the computer led detectives to a La Habra address, just north of Fullerton, where someone used the computer to log onto the Internet.
Todd Irvine, 43, was arrested Friday and charged with possession of stolen property, said Sgt. Linda King. Irvine is on parole for theft and drug-related charges, King said.
The computer and three monitors were stolen Feb. 11 in an early-morning "window smash" burglary at Systematic Automation Inc. in Fullerton, a company that prints annual, customized benefit statements for each district employee.
District technology director Stan Trevena said investigators will begin a forensic analysis of the computer today. He said the district will know within a couple of days whether someone accessed the employee information stored there.
"They should be able to find out what the computer's been doing," Trevena said.
King said Irvine claimed an "unknown" person dropped the computer off for him to work on and never picked it up. She said detectives had been waiting and watching for activity on the computer using the software.
"Finally, someone used the stolen computer," King said.
Director of Business Services Dennis Snelling said there are still no reports of identity theft since the computer was stolen. No reports of identity theft related to the burglary have been made with the Fullerton police, King said.
Systematic Automation has been under contract with Mo- desto City Schools since 1997.
School district officials said they sent the employee information in an encrypted format, but it was stored unencrypted on Systematic Automation's computer.
For links to police investigation
updates, fraud alert forms and other identity theft prevention information, go to http://mcsid.wordpress.com
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2337.