Scottsdale's former police chief said Friday he is deeply apologetic that a list containing personal information about police department employees was stolen from a nightstand in his home last year.
“My wife and I are devastated. It's been a terrible year already and this just made it 10 times worse,” said Doug Bartosh, who was fired by the city in January.
Bartosh said he and his wife never knew the list had been stolen until Chandler police found a copy last week in the belongings of a check forgery suspect.
“I wish they would have stolen a TV, or jewelry or something, because this is just too far-reaching, the potential (for harm),” he said.
Scottsdale detectives on Thursday arrested Vernon Paul Johnson, 45, on suspicion of identity theft and trafficking stolen property. He had worked in Bartosh's home last year on a remodeling project.
Police believe Johnson passed the stolen document to Tosha Bohnsack, 24, of Chandler, who is accused of trying to cash a fraudulent check at a Bank of America in Chandler last week. The check was not connected to any Scottsdale police employee.
Scottsdale police officer Scott Reed said investigators are trying to determine how Bohnsack obtained the list and if there are other copies.
“Investigators are just doing a stellar job of getting to the bottom of this," Bartosh said. "And, hopefully, they will be able to provide all of us with some reassurances about how far this list went.”
Bohnsack and Johnson are acquaintances, Reed said, but no information was available on whether he gave her the list directly.
Reed said that as of Friday no employees had reported being victims of identity theft.
Johnson has a criminal history of theft and illegal drugs, according to the
Arizona Department of Corrections Web site.
Bartosh said Johnson was employed by a “trustworthy” contractor he has used for eight years.
“This particular time we had them inside the house, re-tiling the floors, doing some drywall work, replacing kitchen counters, those types of things,” he said.
Bartosh said he did not know about Johnson's criminal background or if the contractor was aware of it, either. He declined to identify the contractor, saying he did not want to interfere with the police investigation.
“This guy who was arrested was somebody new he was using and apparently didn't have the same level of integrity, which is unfortunate for both (the contractor) and for us. His company has been compromised and certainly our security has been compromised as well as all the employees in the police department. It's very distressing.”
Bartosh had kept the list — containing about 600 employee names, Social Security numbers, home telephone numbers and addresses — in the drawer of a nightstand next to his bed. He took it home so he could contact staff members in emergencies, he said.
His wife, Diana, also expressed her apologies to the police staff she said had become like family to her.
“We were totally stunned to find out, as things unfolded, to find out that it came from here, because we were very diligent about locking doors and taking precautions,” she said. Besides documents, the couple secured police department equipment, such as firearms and uniforms, she said.
Bartosh, who filed a $5.5 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the city, said he asked current Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell to express his and his wife's apologies to the department where he worked for 11 years.