SUN VALLEY, Idaho (AP) — Someone with access to administrative computers in the central Idaho resort town of Sun Valley entered a fire station and deleted electronic documents and stole physical documents that are the kind typically used in a forensic audit to catch financial wrongdoing, city officials said.
Mayor Dewayne Briscoe said someone logged in at the Elkhorn Fire Station and targeted specific dates.
"It was an internal break-in," the mayor said. "There was no evidence of external (access)."
The deletion of documents, emails and other correspondence occurred in February and March and just ahead of a city wide forensic audit that started Wednesday after city officials discovered financial irregularities.
The Idaho Mountain Express reports (http://bit.ly/HYhqX8 ) that Briscoe revealed that documents had been deleted during a City Council meeting Thursday. Acting Fire Chief Ray Franco reported the missing records to Sun Valley police on March 7. Police said the investigation has been turned over to the Idaho Attorney General's Office.
Briscoe said the audit might identify who deleted the electronic files, but there are no suspects so far.
"It's important for citizens to know because of concerns within the fire department," Briscoe told the newspaper.
Longtime Fire Chief Jeff Carnes has been on paid, administrative leave since last fall, though officials have not said why. His wife, Tina Carnes, who is also the fire department administrative assistant, and their son, on-call firefighter Nick Carnes, have also since last fall been on paid, administrative leave.
Briscoe said it's unclear exactly what is missing, but deleted or missing documents include work-hour and payroll records for the fire department.
He said the fire station where the deletions and thefts took place stored personnel and payroll records for many years and for many administrations. He said the city was in the process of moving records to City Hall when the documents went missing. The city has copies of some, but not all, of the records, he said.
The Seattle office of the Newport Beach, Calif.-based firm Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro is conducting the forensic audit. Briscoe said the city has hired the Boise-based law firm of Moffatt Thomas to oversee the forensic audit.
"The law firm is directing the auditing firm," Briscoe said. "I have no input into it."
Information from: Idaho Mountain Express, http://www.mtexpress.com