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Congressional office buildings hit by rash of thefts

Cash, signed historical objects, computer equipment and other expensive electronics have been stolen in a rash of break-ins and thefts at some House office buildings, sources tell NBC News.

Nothing stolen jeopardizes national security, the sources say. There was no information on which offices were targeted, and no suspects have been named.

But the thefts are annoying for House members: Under House rules, members can be stuck with paying to replace stolen items from their office budgets. Many feel that's unfair, saying that security is the job of the Capitol police, not their office personnel.

In a statement, the Capitol police said it was investigating the break-ins.

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On Thursday, the House Administration Committee issued a letter telling members how to seek relief from liability for stolen items:

Dear Colleague:

In response to the recent reports of theft occurring around the Capitol Complex, the Committee on House Administration would like to assure Member offices that the United States Capitol Police (USCP) has taken immediate action to increase surveillance and police patrol activity throughout the House office buildings. 

To assist the Capitol Police in their efforts, the Committee asks that all offices remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity to the USCP Criminal Investigations Section .... 

Additionally, the Committee requests that offices immediately report stolen items to the USCP House Division at x5-0400.

If House equipment has been stolen from your congressional office, you may seek relief from personal liability for the item(s) by submitting a request to the Committee with a copy of the police report.  Please note that Members are not subject to personal reimbursement liability or fees if granted a waiver.

If you have additional questions related to the procedures for stolen items, please do not hesitate to contact the Committee ....

Sincerely, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA)Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA)

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