A laptop computer containing personal information from 33,000 travelers who applied to a program for bypassing airport security lines was probably stolen and returned, not just misplaced, investigators said Monday.
The Transportation Security Administration announced last week that it had suspended new enrollments to the program, known as Clear, after the unencrypted computer disappeared from a locked office at San Francisco International Airport.
The day after TSA's announcement, the laptop reappeared in a locked cabinet in the same office.
Verified Identity Pass Inc., which runs the Clear program, said at the time that the company did not know whether its computer had been stolen or just overlooked.
Investigators are now treating the disappearance as a theft and are interviewing Verified Identity Pass employees to figure out who took the laptop and why, said San Mateo County Sheriff's Sgt. Wes Matsuura.