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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: A second-and-larger breach has hit Target

A second-and-larger security breach has hit the Target Corporation. The Minneapolis-based department store chain said today that up to 70-million customers had personal information stolen from company computers -- things like names, home addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. The breach was in addition to one reported just over a week before Christmas, when 40-million Target customers had data from credit-and-debit cards stolen. The company said a number of the same customers were most likely affected by both breaches. Target has about 40 Wisconsin stores among its 18-hundred in the U-S. The company said the latest breach was not new, but it was uncovered as part of its ongoing investigation of the matter -- a probe that also involves the federal government. Target's C-E-O said he knows it's frustrating that customers must endure the data theft. Target says it will send information to customers with e-mail addresses on file with the firm. They'll provide tips on avoiding identity theft and consumer scams. Media reports said Target would also provide a year's worth of free credit monitoring to its shoppers. More information on that is expected next week. Also today, Target said the initial breach hurt its sales during the holiday season.


The remains of at least one person have been found in a house east of Wausau that was destroyed by an explosion-and-fire. Marathon County sheriff's officials also said today that the blast was intentionally set, and the man responsible appeared to have been killed. Deputies said five explosive devices planted in the home, as well as a car nearby. Detective Jim Armstrong said the intent was to quote, "cause as much damage to the vehicles and home as possible." The blast occurred yesterday morning in the town of Wausau. Deputies said the devices have been quote, "taken care of," and the scene is now safe. The types of explosive devices used have not been disclosed. The car never blew up during the incident, officials later said it was safely detonated. Neighbors who were asked to evacuate returned yesterday afternoon. The state Justice Department's Criminal Investigation team is helping local authorities get to the bottom of the incident. The Wausau Daily Herald said Jesse Jehn owned the house.

Authorities in Merrill said more today about a high school band director who resigned after a complaint of what was called "questionable behavior." Police Chief Ken Neff tells W-J-M-T Radio in Merrill that 27-year-old Matt Callope apparently had a relationship with a 16-year-old student. The chief said no evidence of illegal conduct has turned up so far. Police received an anonymous call last Friday about the purported relationship. The caller also said the teacher's wife intercepted messages between Callope and the girl. Callope was put on paid leave a week ago, before school officials could fully investigate. School officials turned the matter over to police. Callope was in his fourth year directing two high school music groups and a middle school's sixth-grade bands.


A Madison man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, for taking photos of a 17-year-old girl after she fell asleep in late 2002. The girl was among a half-dozen females victimized by 29-year-old Brian Stowe. He pleaded guilty late last year to a federal charge of child sexual exploitation -- and he awaits an additional sentence in state court in March, where he pleaded guilty to 27 of 62 charges against him. He was accused of drugging women, and then molesting them and shooting nude videos after they passed out. Federal Judge Barbara Crabb said Stowe -- who has a master's degree in business -- is a bright-and-talented man. She said she could not fathom what triggered him into acting as a quote, "predator." 


A state prison's drug-and-alcohol counselor is free on a signature bond, after she allegedly gave prisoners cell phones in exchange for money. 52-year-old Karen Robertson of Sparta is a contracted employee at the Jackson Correctional Institution in Jackson County. She's due back in court January 27th on two felony counts of delivering illegal articles to inmates. Prison officials said they recovered a pair of cell phones from inmates last month, after being tipped off about them.