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Van with stolen Obama teleprompter recovered

October 18, 2011|By Michael Muskal
  • Text is displayed on a prompter as President Obama shakes hands with guests after delivering remarks at an American Latino Heritage Forum being hosted by the White House and the U.S. Interior Department on Wednesday. A similar piece of equipment was in the van stolen and recovered in Virginia.
Text is displayed on a prompter as President Obama shakes hands with guests… (Olivier Douliery/Abaca…)

A van containing presidential communications material has been recovered and is awaiting the arrival of President Obama, who is bringing his bus tour in support of the jobs program to Virginia.

A spokeswoman for the Defense Information Systems Agency confirmed the theft and recovery in an email on Tuesday. The incident, which is under investigation, was first reported by NBC12 in Richmond, Va.

“A government vehicle was stolen and has been recovered,” the spokeswoman said.  “No classified or sensitive information was in the vehicle. We take incidents such as this very seriously, and a formal investigation is continuing in coordination with relevant law enforcement agencies.”

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According to the station, the truck was stolen from the Virginia Center Commons Courtyard Marriott near Richmond, where it was parked. The truck contained a teleprompter, $200,000 worth of audio equipment and the presidential seals that are placed on Obama's lectern.

The truck was recovered at 12:30 p.m. on Monday at a Holiday Inn Express near the Richmond airport. It was unknown whether the items had been recovered.

DISA, the nation’s combat support agency, is involved because the White House Communications Agency is a military unit that provides information services and communications support to the president and his staff, the spokeswoman said. The Secret Service is responsible for the presidential security.

Obama was in Jamestown, N.C., on Tuesday morning, the second day of his three-day swing in support of his jobs program, now stalled in Congress. He is slated to speak in Emporia, Va., in the evening.

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