Office of Public Prosecutions - Break In or Walk In?Open Sesame - and out walk the legal laptops - The automatic front doors apparently slid obediently open for thieves who took confidential legal files on murders, armed robberies and drug cases in an Easter burglary at the Office of Public Prosecutions.
It is believed the door security system was not changed from its normal Monday to Friday settings over the Easter break.
And the security system in the offices was not turned on, The Age believes.
The thieves walked out with 15 laptop computers containing material for planned prosecutions in country Victoria.
Prosecution lawyers who have used the laptops have been asked to detail the information they kept on the computers' hard drives.
The cases included homicides, assaults, sexual offences, drug trafficking, armed robberies and large thefts.
Police sources said the DPP's country section moved into refurbished third-floor offices in Lonsdale Street. The floor was previously used by the County Court.
It is believed the new electronic security system on the floor had not been activated. The doors open automatically when approached. When staff arrived on Tuesday they found youths skateboarding in the foyer of the DPP building.
A police spokesman confirmed the burglary had occurred but said it was unlikely the DPP's office had been specifically targeted.
"There have been a series of break-ins in the area where laptop computers have been stolen. It would appear to be the action of opportunistic thieves,"he said. A DPP spokeswoman confirmed the burglary and that computers had been stolen.
She said police did not believe the thieves wanted any of the legal material kept on the laptops.
The thefts "should not interfere with the running of any trials".
The computers are valued at between $45,000 and $60,000.
April 25 2003
By John Silvester
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