A laptop PC with the names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers of 133,000 Florida residents has been stolen from a goverment official's car.

The unnamed official, who works for the US Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General (OIG) in Miami, found the laptop missing when he returned home. It is believed that the laptop was stolen from his car when it was parked outside a restaurant in Doral, Florida.

In an announcement Wednesday (http://www.oig.dot.gov/StreamFile?file=/data/pdfdocs/pr20060809a.pdf), the OIG's office said the laptop was taken from the parked vehicle on July 27. Investigators said they do not believe it was taken for the personal information that it contained.

According to the OIG, the laptop was password-protected and contained four databases with personal information on about 42,792 Florida pilots, 80,667 Miami-Dade County commercial driver's license (CDL) holders and 9,496 people who received their driver's licences and/or CDLs from the licensing examining facility near Tampa.

The data was being used by the agency in connection with mult-iagency task forces focusing on the use of fraudulent information to obtain CDLs or airman certificates, according to the agency. The Tampa-area driver's licensing data was used as part of an ongoing investigation involving fraud at the licensing facility.

"We are making every effort to recover the stolen laptop and resecure the data it contains," Acting Inspector General Todd J. Zinser said. "We seriously regret this matter and take our responsibilities seriously. We have taken action and will continue to take steps necessary to prevent this from happening again."

A reward has been offered by the OIG for the return of the stolen laptop.

The agency said it is now taking measures to ensure that no other OIG laptops or portable devices assigned to field offices and headquarters employees contain such data. It is also tightening policies regarding laptop computer use.