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The laptop contained case files, which held the personal information of thousands of crime victims, suspects, witnesses and police officers, including Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers.
"I feel awful for them that this happened, but there was no malicious intent," Det. Sgt. Katie Larson of the King County Sheriff's Office told KOMO News.
Larson said it took three months to notify victims due to the challenge of determining precisely who was affected. "It's not something you can just press a button and it all pops up for you," she said. "Somebody had to go through and read everything and cull out all of that informaiton."
At the time of the breach, the sheriff's office said, they were in the process of adding encryption software to all of their computers. Sixty percent of the computers were encrypted at that point, but the stolen laptop wasn't one of them.