70 Indian passports stolen from PVT firm in San Fransisco
Around 70 passports have been reported stolen from the San Francisco office of a private company. The private company has been handling passport and visa services outsourced by the Indian Government.
This was alerted by a reader of California based India-west journal who lost his passport. He had reported this to San Francisco Police Department & they began investigating the theft of passports from the office of BLS International in early December.
San Francisco Police Department Officer Gordon Shyy has been quoted as saying that the burglary is still under active investigation that began on December 2, 2013 after a BLS employee complained that the passports, along with cash and checks, had been taken from a locked safe. There was no evidence of a break-in.
The Indian Consulate in San Francisco assured that all the stolen passports have been cancelled and that they cannot be misused for any fraudulent travel as they are machine-readable and verified through a system used throughout the world.
Initially the number of lost passports were reported to be eight. The police received complaints from a number of Indian residents that their passports had been lost. Estimating that up to 70 Indian passports may have been stolen, the police officer said the State Department has been notified about it as per protocol.
BLS International replaced another company handling passport/visa services for the Indian consulates in the US in July last year, is itself in the process of being replaced soon because of complaints from the user public.
– Sharanya Bharathwaj