Milwaukee police report finding the device in a home on North 6th Street, this week, while investigating other crimes.
The thumb drive had been inside a vehicle someone stole from Dynacare Laboratories, in October, after an employee left it unattended. City leaders and workers were upset that the company did not report the theft for days. In November, officers recovered the vehicle and the laptop that was inside, but not the drive.
Officers do not believe anyone accessed the personal information about thousands of city workers and their families, but further analysis is underway.
Mayor Tom Barrett says he hopes the recovery of the thumb drive "brings peace of mind to the thousands of City of Milwaukee employees and their spouses who feared their personal information had been compromised.”
Despite the recovery, Alderman Michael Murphy says "(It) in no way absolves Dynacare of its legal and moral responsibility to protect that data, and it will never erase the immense stress and anxiety it has caused city employees and their families.”
Police Chief Edward Flynn says he's not surprised that police found stolen property as part of a separate investigation. Authorities have arrested a 17-year-old boy, who may be charged with receiving stolen property and bail-jumping. They are still looking into how he obtained the thumb drive.