By Amanda N. Maynord
Nashville City Paper
January 21, 2008
Metro Police confirmed late Thursday they have recovered the hard drive
from the laptop computer, containing names and complete Social Security
numbers for 337,000 registered voters, that was stolen from the Election
Commission in December.
Police said Election Commission staff viewed and confirmed the
information stored on the seized hard drive came from the stolen
computer that gave them the most concern.
Officials did not disclose where the hard drive, a router and other
computer components were found, citing the ongoing investigation. Police
do not yet know if any of the other seized equipment including
additional hard drives came from a second malfunctioning laptop also
stolen from the Election Commission.
Computer experts have begun the process of examining the files and data
components to determine if they have been accessed or tampered with,
according to police.
Detectives are vigorously pursuing leads and expect to make additional
arrests in the case, according to a news release.
The main suspect in the case, Robert Osbourne, admitted to police
Thursday that he broke into the Davidson County Election Commission Dec.
Osbourne, 45, is believed to be homeless, according to police, and has
been in and out of the Union Rescue Mission in recent weeks.
He is a parolee with convictions beginning in the 1980s. He was
sentenced to nine years in 2004 for a theft of property conviction in
Marshall County and released on parole Oct. 30, 2007.
Osbourne was arrested in Nashville as recently as Jan. 4 for
trespassing. He received a four-day sentence. And on Jan. 7, Osbourne
received a state misdemeanor citation for possession of drug
Police said early in the investigation that DNA evidence was recovered
at the crime scene, and in a press conference Wednesday said that DNA
was linked to Osbourne, helping them pinpoint the suspect.
Metro Council members and state legislators have been calling for an
increased examination into security measures at the Election Commission
and other Metro buildings since the break-in.
Mayor Karl Dean received a security inventory of every Metro department
Monday and is analyzing the results, according to spokesperson Janel
The security company that contracts with Metro to provide guards,
Wackenhut Corp., is facing at least one lawsuit to cover damages caused
by the break-in in the amount of $100,000. At least one security guard
has been fired following the break-in.
The city is also offering free identity theft protection for one year
for the 337,000 registered voters who had their information stolen.
Letters should be reaching voters no later than the end of this week
with instructions on how to sign up for the service.
Metro stands to pay at least $1 million for the service out of reserve
Osbourne is being held in the Metro jail in lieu of $80,000 bond.
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