A data-erasing company in Tokyo says a former employee allegedly removed thousands of items, including hard disk drives, and put them up for sale on Internet auctions.
Yuichi Takahashi, a former 51-year-old employee of Broadlink, was arrested last week on suspicion of stealing 12 hard disk drives from the company.
Kanagawa prefectural officials say Takahashi auctioned off 18 other drives online that contained massive documents, including taxpayers' personal information.
The head of the company, Shoichi Sakaki, held a news conference on Monday and revealed that Takahashi had auctioned 7,844 items online, including 3,904 data storage media, such as hard disk drives.
Sakaki said the company will check the serial numbers of the items to see if information on private companies and public offices has been leaked.
He explained that the firm had conducted baggage checks on part-time workers when they left the office, but only occasionally on full-time workers. He added the firm will check all workers from now on, and that a metal detector will be used.
Meanwhile, investigative sources say Tokyo police suspect Takahashi took away mainly hard disk drives that would be disposed of, instead of ones to be recycled after data were erased.
Based on security camera footage, investigators believe Takahashi used a backpack to remove the devices from a pile of items in the data-erasing room, which were to be disposed of.