ROCHESTER, Minn. – A former city employee has been charged with keeping records stolen from the Rochester Human Resources Department in a storage locker.
54-year-old Debra Rae Coyle of Rochester is facing one count of possession of stolen property.
The management of a local storage facility says they tried to contact Coyle when she needed to renew payment on a storage unit in November, 2014. When they could not contact her, they say they opened the unit and saw paperwork inside that seemed to belong to Rochester city government.
A police investigation found nearly 40 boxes of documents which appeared to be records from Rochester Human Resources, including employment and performance evaluations, test scores, personnel files, meeting minutes, fingerprint cards, payroll sheets and many other types of documents.
Police spoke with Coyle about this matter in February, 2015, and she allegedly stated that she kept the documents in case she decided to file a lawsuit because she claimed her supervisor was bullying and harassing her. Coyle says she did not file such a lawsuit but left city employment and took a severance package.
Coyle also allegedly said she last saw the documents sometime in 2013, about a year after she stopped working for the city.
The Rochester Police Department says their investigation found many of the records were copies but some were the originals and the city had no copies on file. Some of the records also allegedly contained private employee data, including social security numbers, and sensitive information that should have been kept in the Human Resources Department.
A charge of possession of stolen property was filed against Coyle on Wednesday. Her initial court appearance has been scheduled for November 8 in Olmsted County District Court.