The Turlock branch office of the Employment Development Department, which is slated for closure in about two weeks, was broken into and ransacked.
The suspect or suspects stole numerous items belonging to the state, including a state vehicle, and personal property of some of the workers. The perpetrators also caused a significant amount of destruction inside the building, said Bill Youngdale, the owner of the property.
“It’s terrible,” Youngdale said. “If they had just stolen things it would have been one thing, but what they did to the building is just terrible.”
The break-in was initially reported to the Turlock Police Department, but was handed over to the California Highway Patrol because it involves a state agency.
The break-in is believed to have occurred sometime between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Monday, according to the CHP.
Entry was gained into the N. Broadway office through the alley by prying the bars off a window and going through a window into the lunch room, Youngdale said.
Youngdale said the refrigerator was emptied and the lunch room trashed.
The CHP said several computers were taken in the break-in and it is unknown at this time what information might have been stored on those computers.
Youngdale said the suspect or suspects went through the desks and stole personal items belonging to some of the EDD employees.
The suspect or suspects also took all the keys at the office, one of which belonged to a state owned 2008 white Chevy Impala. The Impala was stolen and has not been recovered, said CHP spokesman Officer Eric Parsons.
Not content to just burglarize the office, the suspect(s) also set out to cause damage at the site. Youngdale said at least one suspect defecated on the floor of the men’s restroom and the feces was tracked all over the office.
Because of the contamination, the office was closed Monday and Tuesday. Youngdale said he had all the carpets cleaned, locks changed and the window replaced and expects the staff will be back today.
Fingerprints and other forensic evidence were taken at the scene.
It’s unknown why the Turlock branch of the EDD was targeted. There has been some public ire against the EDD as they have had problems sending out unemployment benefits for weeks because a program update malfunctioned. The EDD said Tuesday the backlogged benefits should start going out by Thursday.
The Turlock branch of the EDD will be closing Oct. 15. Customers will be directed to the Modesto and Merced offices and employees will be transferred to the Modesto branch.