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Employee's silent rampage wipes out $2.5m worth of data

Paranoia strikes deep

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A Florida woman who believed she was about to get fired has been accused of deleting $2.5m worth of computer files to seek revenge on her employer.

Jacksonville Sheriff's officials say Marie Lupe Cooley, 41, used her own account credentials to access the server of Steven E. Hutchins Architects and delete seven years' worth of drawings. The firm's alarm company said someone entered the premises at 11 p.m. on Sunday and was there for about four hours.

Cooley went on her silent rampage after finding a help-wanted ad placed by her boss. It described an open administrative assistant position that sounded remarkably similar to hers.

The rogue employee "decided to go and mess up everything for everybody," a spokesman for the sheriff's office told FirstCoast News here. "She decided to be spiteful and go in and sabotage the records. And she did a very good job of that."

Firm owner Steven Hutchins said he was able to recover the files. "It was not a sensationalistic amount of money," he told El Reg, referring to the fee he paid a consultant to dredge up the discarded architectural drawings. He declined to say if he had stored backups of the files, which were valued at $2.5m.

Cooley was charged with damage in excess of $1,000 to computers and was released on bail.

As it turned out, the help-wanted ad listed a position available in the office of Hutchins's wife. Cooley's job was never under threat, though it probably is now. ®

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