Two More Members Report Thefts
Two months after several House Members reported thefts of government-issued equipment from their offices, two Illinois Republicans have been targeted off campus.
Freshman Rep. Bobby Schilling confirmed to Roll Call today that his scheduler, Claire Repass, had her official laptop stolen from her Capitol Hill apartment a few weeks ago.
He also confirmed that fellow freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who lives in the same building as Repass, was also the target of a theft of electronic devices that he uses in an official capacity.
Kinzinger would not comment, citing an ongoing investigation by the Capitol Police.
Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider said the department “continues to investigate incident reports at that address.”
Schilling said he thought the circumstances suggested the possibility of more than just a coincidence.
“The only thefts were from people from Illinois,” he said. “And I might say I thought it was interesting that this happened the same day my wife and I were actually staying at the same location.”
Repass’ laptop that was taken from the apartment contained information about Schilling’s schedule in his district and in Washington, D.C.
Schilling said the private information was erased from the computer remotely just a few hours after the theft was reported.
Rash of Incidents
The thefts occurred within several weeks of a rash of break-ins to House Members’ offices during the month of April.
Among the targets was Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who reported the theft of high-end cameras and a computer monitor.
Various personal items were also taken from Capitol Hill offices occupied by Republican Reps. Jerry Lewis (Calif.) and Jon Runyan (N.J.).
When news broke in May of the incidents, Reps. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) and Robert Brady (D-Pa.) — the chairman and ranking member of the House Administration Committee, which oversees House security — wrote in a letter to Members and staff that the Capitol Police were responding accordingly.
House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, just a few months into his tenure as the chamber’s chief law enforcement officer, said at the time that the break-ins would not be taken in stride.
“As far as we’re concerned, one is too many. … And we are looking at each and every one very, very seriously,” Irving said.
Some lawmakers, however, wondered whether the Capitol Police were doing enough to get to the bottom of the incidents. Gowdy and Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) speculated that the break-ins could have been an inside job.
“There’s been no evidence of a physical break-in, which suggests that [someone] had access to those offices,” Rogers said last month. “That should narrow the investigation quite considerably.”
The Capitol Police have not reported any arrests in the case.
The circumstances surrounding the break-ins at Repass’ and Kinzinger’s apartments could also lend themselves to theories of an inside job, but no public announcements have been made about the status of the investigations.
Schilling added that he hopes security video footage maintained by the building’s management could help the Capitol Police gather some leads.