Mystery Laptops/Illustration by Tom McKeith Mystery Laptops/Illustration by Tom McKeith Illustration by Tom McKeith

Something smelled fishy in Vermont, Washington, Wyoming and West Virginia in August 2009 when the states' governors received mysterious laptops they never ordered.

Each office reported receiving three to five laptops in two deliveries of either Hewlett-Packard or Compaq units, according to several news sources. A National Governors Association bulletin disclosed that HP intercepted another shipment to at least one other state. The federal government is reportedly investigating deliveries in at least 10 states.

If the laptops were intended as bait, no one bit.

"There was a realization that we did not order these computers," said West Virginia State Police Sgt. Mike T. Baylous. Once the state police realized the delivery could pose a problem, the department sought federal action.

"We reached out to the FBI. We have a great working relationship with them here," he said.


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Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.