News Channel 5 Nashville
Jan 17, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro police found part of the computer system stolen
from the Davidson County Election Commission offices Christmas Eve.
A computer router was recovered late Thursday afternoon. Police did not
disclose where they found it.
Robert Osbourne, who is charged with burglary and theft, was calm and
cooperative when police questioned him.
He gave police clues about where to start looking for the stolen laptops
that contained information about registered voters including Social
He appeared before a night court commissioner to have bail set at
Police said he was on parole when he broke into the offices and stole
two laptop computers.
"He's implicated himself and has given information we are checking out,"
said Metro detective Rick Mavity. "We believe it to be good."
Police said Osbourne is homeless and broke into the offices to steal
items for quick cash.
County election administrator Ray Barrett said he's glad the suspect was
Osbourne and not a computer genius.
"I'm sure he didn't know what he was getting with the Social Security
numbers on it and all," Barrett said.
Barrett said even a computer whiz couldn't just access the personal
information on the stolen computers even with a password.
"He had to have a name or address," Barrett said. "He did not have just
a straight list of A to Z."
Barbara Jenkins, a Davidson County voter, also feels better knowing
Osbourne is behind bars and took the computers to sell for spending
"To know it was a homeless person and obviously without the
technological skills to hack into the system to get our confidential
information is a relief," she said.
Another voter James Rackard said he doesn't blame election leaders for
the lack of security and feels better knowing police arrested Osbourne.
"It was one of those instances of just where the right thing was not
done, but I don't think there was anything intended by it being left out
so I am glad it turned out the way that it did," he said.
Police are searching for the two stolen Dell laptop computers. Once they
find them, they will be able to figure out if the personal information
of more than 300,000 voters was accessed.
Detectives said Osbourne did not know the computers contained sensitive
information. Blood at the crime scene matched a DNA sample he gave when
he registered as an ex-convict.
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