Congressional Republicans have been targeted by a crime wave this spring, with burglars curiously able to repeatedly break into offices without security noticing.
Despite security in the Hill office buildings, the offices of Reps. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) were burglarized last month, with Runyan’s office hit twice. Also hit was the Oversight and Government Reform Committee office and the staff office for the Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security, both under control of the Republican majority.
Items taken from Runyan and Lewis’ offices included autographed baseball, commemorative knickknacks, and cameras.
Gowdy, whose office is next door to Runyan’s in the Longworth House office building, told CNN yesterday that the thefts from his office seemed to be for resale, since they took a computer monitor and cameras but left things with information such as hard drives.
Gowdy appealed the bill he was sent for the missing monitor. “The members are personally liable for material taken from the offices, and if that’s the rule, I am happy to reimburse whomever for the cost of it,” he said. “Capitol Hill police provide security for the office building, so my letter to House administration was kind of a procedural or administrative letter.”
The former prosecutor said he was “stunned that you can walk out a Congressional office building carrying digital cameras and computer screens and not garner anyone’s attention.”
“I don’t know that they have any suspects,” Gowdy said. “I will pay whoever I owe. I am a rule follower. I do think it is a little bit crazy when you lock your doors and you do everything that you’re supposed to do — in my old job we didn’t make victims reimburse their employers when things happened, but I will do whatever the rules require me to do.”