July 25, 2014
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
There have been at least three thefts in the past month in the Rayburn House Office Building, according to statistics released by Capitol Police. Rep. Elton Gallegly's Rayburn office is among them.

Members Wonder When Office Break-In Cases Will Be Cracked

It's been several months since news first surfaced that House Members' offices were becoming targets of after-hours thefts, but Capitol Hill law enforcement has still not identified a culprit.

Now, with reports that more burglaries are hitting the halls of Congress, lawmakers and staffers are getting antsy.

"It's one thing to have your office broken into. It's another thing to have your office broken into after this has been 'business as usual' for a long time," said Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), whose Washington office was raided over the weekend.

Another Member whose office was targeted earlier this year isn't too pleased, either.

"He's frustrated that the efforts by Capitol Police have not led to solving the original break-ins," said Jim Specht, a spokesman for Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.)

There have been at least three thefts in the past month in the Rayburn House Office Building, according to statistics released by Capitol Police. Gallegly's Rayburn office is among them.

The theft in Gallegly's office seems to fit the pattern established in thefts that occurred in April and May. The "break-ins" are more like "walk-ins," perpetrated by someone or some people using a key. And with the exception of an expensive computer monitor and high-tech cameras lifted from the office of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), most of the stolen items appear to be personal mementos and Congressional memorabilia that could be sold online.

Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) lost a scarf; Lewis, according to Gallegly, lost his collection of Easter eggs signed by a long line of first ladies.

Gallegly told Roll Call that every desk drawer in his Washington office had been ransacked, with money stolen if there was any to take, along with anything bearing a Congressional logo or seal. He also lost the collection of state license plates he had been accumulating for 26 years, which he hoped to one day to give his children or grandchildren.

But as heartbroken as Gallegly might be to lose the fruits of a quarter-century hobby, he said he was more concerned about the security ramifications of continuing to allow the perpetrator or perpetrators to be at-large.

"For eight years I served on the Intelligence Committee, and sometimes there might be something in my desk drawer that wasn't for everyone's eyes," Gallegly said. "And if someone has the ability to go into my office and take something out, in this world today, they have the ability to put something in," such as a destructive weapon or hazardous materials.

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