By DEUCE NIVEN
Seven computers were reported stolen from the Columbus County Cooperative Extension and Soil & Water Conservation offices in Whiteville Thursday, Capt. David Nobles of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
Soil & Water Conservation Director Edward Davis said he and a co-worker discovered the break-in at 7:30 a.m. when they noticed several office drawers open.
Two laptop computers from the Soil & Water Conservation office were taken, Davis said.
Four Mac Mini computers and a laptop were taken from Cooperative Extension, director Dalton Dockery said.
Davis said the Soil & Water computers were password protected, and not likely to contain information that would compromise anyone’s security. That kind of information, Davis said, is stored on agency servers, not individual computers.
“We are very strict on that type of thing when it comes to security,” Davis said.
Dockery said there was no confidential information on the computers stolen from Cooperative Extension.
Entry to the building was apparently made through an unlocked window. Nobles said workers also noted that the keys were inside a conservation agency pick-up truck that might have been moved, though that was not clear.
It was also uncertain if the keys had been inadvertently left in the truck the day before, of if the thief or thieves had found the keys in the building and used the vehicle.
Davis said the work seemed professional, with evidence that the thief or thieves wore gloves, and checked several windows before finding one that was unlocked.
“We’re secure now,” Davis said. “Tight as a drum.”