Some of the computer devices stolen from the University of Victoria earlier this month have been recovered, along with a repentant note from the thieves that police are finding hard to believe.
A postal worker found the hard drives and other computer devices in a green garbage bag stuffed in a mailbox in the nearby suburb of Langford on Tuesday.
Also in the bag was a note, apparently from the thieves, that said "the information in these bags was not copied, distributed or exploited."
"We want no part of everyday people living in fear that their personal information is being used against them to take [their] hard-earned money. Criminals are human before they were criminals," said the note.
"We are truly sorry for the level of inconvenience this has caused."
Police still concerned
But police aren't buying the apology, saying most of the information on the hard drives was wiped clean, and the most important hard drive that contained most of the personal information was not recovered.
"This goes beyond a sick prank in our minds, leading us to believe this is something more sinister," said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen, who believes the thieves want people to be lulled into a false sense of security that their personal information won't be used against them.
The computer hardware containing unencrypted banking information and social insurance numbers of up to 13,000 current and former University of Victoria employees was stolen earlier this month from a campus administration building.
Police believe at least two cases of bank fraud may have been linked to the theft.
They have urged anyone who was on the university's payroll between January 2010 and 2012 to call their bank immediately, and change their passwords and account numbers. Authorities are also advising people to call credit bureaus so their files can be red flagged for any suspicious activity.
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