Up to 40,000 kids' identities stolen from DES in burglary

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Up to 40,000 identities stolen from storage unit

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PHOENIX - Up to 40,000 children's identities were stored on Department of Economic Security hard drives that were stolen from a storage unit in October.

Now all those families may be at risk of identity theft. This affects anyone who has applied for or been accepted to DES's "Early Intervention Program" over the past several years. This has the parents of those 40,000 children seriously concerned about their well-being.

Chrissy Boyajian has her hands full with triplet 2-year old boys, two of whom have learning disabilities. She tells 3TV, "Tyler was diagnosed at 18 months with autism. Jacob is behind in speech."< /p>

The two boys receive assistance from DES and are enrolled in their Early Education Intervention Program. All has been going well until this weekend when Chrissy received a letter in the mail that was notification of a break-in and possible identity theft.

The letter reads, "The hard drives contained info that might include name address insurance info child disability date of birth and social security number."

That is the personal information of some 40,000 Valley children that was stored on hard drives that are now in the hands of thieves.

DES spokesperson Liz Barker Alvarez tells 3TV, "We don't have any reason to believe that DES and our computers were the target of theft."

Still they were stolen from a public storage unit where DES keeps its back-up files. According to the police report, a man and woman broke in and left with five hard drives valued at $450.

The information on those hard drives is obviously much more valuable than that.

Boyaijian admits, "I worry about them so muchthe both of them, especially Tyler and then to have this happen."

DES says the hard drives are all password-protected and they have no reason to believe that any personal information has been accessed.

Nonetheless the families of 40,000 children have been warned and the two suspects remain at large.

According to police, the suspects were last seen leaving in a white extra cab pick-up truck. If you know anything about this crime you are urged to call police.

In the meantime DES tells 3TV they are re-evaluating their storage procedures.