Zut alors! Blueprints for some of France's most important buildings, including the presidential residence, the Paris police headquarters and the Interior Ministry are now in the hands of criminals.
Local newspaper Le Parisien reported that on Saturday (Aug. 18), a cable-company worker left a USB drive containing the blueprints, along with other personal items, in his car while he met an arriving train at the Gare de Lyon, one of Paris' main train stations.
The worker's employer has contracts to install fiber-optic cables in French government buildings, among them the Élysée Palace, official residence of French President François Hollande.
The USB drive and the bag containing it were stolen out of the car while the employee was in the train station. The bag was later recovered, but without the USB drive, Le Parisien said in a follow-up story.
Sadly for the company, the blueprints, which included floor plans of approximately 9,000 public and private buildings, were unencrypted.
Whoever has the flash drive can now map out the interiors of the French equivalents of the White House and the headquarters of the Department of Justice and the New York Police Department.
However, blueprints of such sensitive buildings would naturally be of interest to spies or terrorists. As Le Parisien noted, it's not clear whether the theft specifically targeted the USB drive or was just a crime of convenience.
"In either case, it's unfortunate that such factors come into play," an exasperated government source told the newspaper.