Tailgating Leads to Thefts Inside DC-Area Business and Government Offices

By Matthew Harwood

A theft ring is successfully preying on the key-card culture of Northern Virginia by tailgating into office buildings and stealing things from unoccupied offices, reports Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic.

This, however, doesn't only pose an access-control and antitheft problem, according to Ambinder: it presents a national security problem.

One of the buildings broken into included a State Department office that contained classified materials, although it is not clear whether the classified documents were the target.

According to a Defense Department memo, the thieves outfit themselves with laminated badges hung off lanyards.

They loiter near building entrances that require card key or fob access and follow other employees in. "The thieves then enter unoccupied offices and steal property, especially cash and credit cards," the memo says.

The U.S. Secret Service, the Diplomatic Security Service, and the Arlington County Police Department have initiatied a joint investigation into the matter.

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A Pentagon official told Ambinder the theft ring is a "major counter-intelligence problem."

♦ Photo of key card by IDenticardImages/Flickr


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