MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Thousands of City of Milwaukee employees had their personal information compromised when a vehicle containing a flash drive with sensitive data was stolen from a Dynacare Laboratories location.
Dynacare Laboratories is a contractor used by Froedtert Health Workforce Health in connection with the City of Milwaukee Wellness Program.
Milwaukee police are now investigating the case as Mayor Tom Barrett demands answers from the health care company.
"How in God's name could you put this information, this important information about city employees, on a flash drive?" asked Mayor Barrett in a Friday, November 15th press conference.
Barrett says he's outraged that nearly 6,000 people, including employees from the Public Works Department, police and fire departments, had their privacy violated due to carelessness.
Police Chief Ed Flynn and Mayor Barrett, himself, had information on the stolen flash drive.
The personal information was inside the purse of a Dynacare Laboratories employee, which was left unattended inside a vehicle.
The flash drive contained names, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers and genders of 6,000 employees and around 3,000 of their spouses or domestic partners. Officials say the social security numbers were not taken.
The incident also affects a group of patients who received testing from Dynacare Laboratories between August and October 2013.
"We are very, very concerned with the release of this. We are hoping that the flash drive is gone. We don't know what's happened to it," said Mayor Barrett.
Dynacare released a statement saying, in part: Dynacare is committed to maintaining the privacy and security of the personal information it maintains and it deeply regrets any inconvenience this may cause its patients.
The company believes it was the vehicle, not the flash drive, that was the target of the theft.
Mayor Barrett, however, is questioning why the company first reported the incident to him on Friday, November 15th when the theft occurred on October 22nd.
"Why did we find out -- the city -- about this incident, essentially, 24 days after it happened?" asked Mayor Barrett.
The stolen vehicle has been recovered however the purse and flash drive have not.
Mayor Barrett plans to have a face-to-face meeting with Dynacare executives. The company says it is reviewing its protocols and reminding workers to protect sensitive information.