By Alan Zarembo and Cara Mia DiMassa
Los Angeles Times
April 26, 2009
In a bold, systematic hit on a landmark Ventura Boulevard office
building, burglars stole scores of computers from at least 60 of the 80
businesses there, taking machines containing sensitive legal documents,
credit card numbers and the tax information of thousands of people,
police said Saturday.
The overnight theft at the Chateau Office Building in Woodland Hills
left accountants, a talent agent, property management companies,
attorneys and other businesses in the three-story structure scrambling
to assess their losses as police scoured the premises.
Deputy Chief Michel Moore of the Los Angeles Police Department said that
computers, some files and other items were taken from the 60 businesses.
The theft was discovered Saturday morning.
"It is unusual for the number of businesses hit and the scale," he said
of the crime.
Several business owners said they were taken aback by the brazenness of
the theft, which deprived them of their computers but left behind other
valuable equipment, including monitors, faxes, copiers and printers.
Several concluded that the thieves' target must have been the
information contained on their hard drives, not property.
One businessman said the credit card numbers of 7,000 clients were
stolen. Accountant Richard Levy said his stolen computer held the tax
documents of 800 clients. Attorney Marshall Bitkower said only three
computers were taken from his office, but "they had all kinds of stuff.
Everything: people's names, credit cards, clients, e-mails back and
forth -- who knows what."
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