The Buzz

Wichita police, State Department investigated burglary of Pompeo’s storage units

A break-in at a self-storage facility, usually a routine piece of police business, rose to a matter of diplomatic security in Wichita last year after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had two units burglarized, according to a police report.

Pompeo’s involvement prompted the State Department to dispatch a security officer to East Side Mini Storage last November to review the scene and meet with local police. The thief used a grinding tool to break into four storage units, including two belonging to the nation’s top diplomat, according to the Wichita Police Department.

The former Wichita congressman’s units “appeared to contain tables, chairs and miscellaneous Pompeo campaign items,” the police report said.

Another victim of the burglary said at one point there were 20 police officers on the scene.

“I half expected Black Hawk helicopters to show up,” said Bradley Sampson, who had his storage unit broken into during the same incident. “Heaven forbid they take some of his bottled water or campaign signs.”

The burglar used duct tape to cover two security cameras at the facility. Another camera caught a glimpse of a male suspect carrying a ladder, but police could not identify him from the video, according to a police report obtained through an open records request.

The case has been temporarily closed without any viable leads or suspects.

A security officer from the State Department traveled to the scene after officers notified Pompeo’s son and communicated with former campaign aides, according to the police report.

“It is a standard procedure for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to investigate any incidents involving the Secretary,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

The police report identifies the State Department official as William Embry, who at the time was resident agent-in-charge of the State Department’s St. Louis office.

Embry is now serving as a regional security officer in Venezuela, according to his LinkedIn page.

Wichita police spokesman Officer Charley Davidson said there’s no indication that Pompeo’s storage units were targeted. Police also do not have any evidence that ties the break-in to a storage unit burglary ring busted by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office in February.

“I think he just happened to get hit,” Davidson said.

The storage units are one of the few remaining expenses listed by Pompeo’s federal campaign account since he joined the Trump administration.

Pompeo’s account paid a monthly fee of $240 to East Side Mini Storage throughout 2017 and 2018, according to his filings with the Federal Election Commission. The campaign account, which stopped taking donations after Pompeo joined the administration, still holds nearly $1 million.

That money could be steered toward a future presidential run or a campaign for Senate if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell successfully recruits Pompeo into the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

The Wichita Eagle’s Amy Leiker contributed to this report.
Bryan Lowry covers Kansas and Missouri politics as Washington correspondent for The Kansas City Star. He previously served as Kansas statehouse correspondent for The Wichita Eagle and as The Star’s lead political reporter. Lowry contributed to The Star’s investigation into government secrecy that was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize.
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