Barbers and cosmetologists throughout West Virginia are being warned about potential identity theft after a safe containing their personal information was stolen.
The safe was taken Friday from the Charleston office of the state Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists.
Executive Director Larry Absten says the 1 1/2-foot-by-2-foot safe contained information on every barber and cosmetologist licensed in the state since 1985, which is at least 10,000 people.
Absten says those people are being contacted as a precaution, but he doesn't think the thieves would be able to use the stolen information. He declined to say whether it's in paper form or on computer disk.
Absten says the thieves were most likely looking for money, which is not kept in the office, and probably trashed the contents of the safe when they didn't find any cash. He says they rifled through desk drawers but didn't touch the computers.
Charleston police are investigating. Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General Jill Miles says people concerned about identity theft can contact the nation's three credit reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on their accounts.