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2 State Dept. buildings robbed of many cell phones

A cellphone user navigating a mobile app. (Tech. Sgt. David Carbajal/U.S. Air Force)
January 19, 2019

Two U.S. State Department buildings have been robbed this month.

On Jan. 3, two annexes of the State Department were targeted by thieves who stole numerous cell phones and other electronics, and then tried to sell them at a Virginia restaurant.

The thefts took place at buildings in Washington, D.C., and in Arlington after the suspect allegedly made his way into the Arlington annex by casually walking in behind another individual, the Washington Post reported.

The suspect, identified as 42-year-old Joel Enriquez-Bueno, went upstairs and was able to steal “53 electronic devices, including 44 cell phones that were both private and government-owned phones,” according to the Post.

Specific details of the phones were not disclosed.

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“Almost all the stolen equipment was recovered, and the State Department is confident that no classified information was jeopardized,” according to Ashley Savage, a police spokeswoman.

Arlington County Police were called to the building around 11 a.m.

Bueno was apprehended by Arlington police after authorities identified a male suspect that matched the description.

He is being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility with no bond.

He faces charges of “grand larceny, grand larceny with intent to sell, breaking and entering, and giving a false identity to police,” according to the Washington Post.

A official from the State Department told the Post, “We continue to meet security staffing requirements.”

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In November 2018, thieves targeted an ATF vehicle that was parked just outside a California federal building, the East Bay Express had reported.

The thieves made off with “a fully automatic rifle and other weapons and equipment,” the Express reported.

ATF spokesperson Ginger Colbrun said, “ATF is aware of the theft and is aggressively pursuing all leads and working closely with our local partners to quickly find the individuals responsible and return the property. This is an ongoing active investigation and we cannot provide further details.”

Back in April 2016, thieves entered a Washington federal building using a key from a former employee and accessed hard drives that contained vital and personal information belonging to as many as 5 million people, according to the Spokesman Review.

The theft occurred at the Office of Child Support Enforcement in Olympia, Washington.

Nicholas Perring, then 28, and Demario Heard were arrested for the thefts, admitting that they were in the building for two hours.

They said they also stole a government credit card, as well as $600 in cash, which they said they split so they could gamble.