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Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Former Centralia employee accused of destroying emails, hacking into employee computers  | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


By Emily Fitzgerald / [email protected] 

The former information services director for the City of Centralia was arrested Tuesday on allegations he destroyed thousands of archived emails dating back to 2002, hacked into several Centralia employee computer screens and email accounts, and damaged multiple pieces of city property. 

Marc Alan Baine, 48, of Centralia, worked at the City of Centralia from May 2005 to April 2023, according to his LinkedIn profile, which states he was initially hired as an information technology manager and was promoted to director of information services in November 2018. He has reportedly been working as an IT manager for the South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency since June 2023, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

The alleged offenses took place in 2022 and 2023. 

The Centralia Police Department opened an investigation into Blaine in April 2023 after the City of Centralia reported it was unable to find emails needed to fulfill a public disclosure request, according to court documents. 

Blaine was responsible for the city’s servers and drives at the time. 

Further investigation revealed that Baine had been logging into and viewing the computer screens of, among others, the Centralia police chief, the human resources director and the city manager.

“The investigation also revealed Baine had forwarded to all city employees at least two emails from two employees’ email accounts that contained sensitive information,” the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office alleges in charging documents.

Those emails were allegedly sent in November 2020 and February 2021 “to embarrass the employees,” according to court documents. 

Baine is additionally accused of hacking into a male job applicant’s email to send an email “which contained vulgar content” to the City of Centralia in January 2022 “because he did not like the male applicant and did not want him to get the open opposition with the city,” according to court documents. 

“A review of data confirmed Baine had sent the email,” according to court documents. 

On March 28, 2023, an employee with the City of Centralia reportedly drafted a document on her desktop outline “a belief that Baine was accessing employee computers and breaking a number of laws in the process,” according to court documents. Access logs reportedly show Baine accessed the employee’s computer without her permission to view the document.
Several days later, on March 31, 2023, Baine allegedly “destroyed the server by drilling the drives” then went on a week-long vacation, according to court documents. 

“Although the server was scheduled to be backed up and replaced, there was no need for the server to be physically destroyed at that time,” the prosecutor’s office states in court documents, adding, “It is believed Baine destroyed the server to cover up his conduct.” 

Baine is additionally accused of “dumping urine and soda into a crack in the wall of his office,” which stained the ceiling of the office below and caused “an unpleasant odor.” 

The damage to the building “is expected to be well over $750 as this conduct had been going on for some time,” according to court documents. 

When questioned, Baine allegedly admitted to accessing other employees’ computer screens, destroying the server with the drill and dumping liquids down the crack in the wall. 

“This is an ongoing investigation, and it is anticipated there are many more incidents of Baine accessing employees’ email accounts without their knowledge and for no legitimate work reason,” the prosecutor’s office stated in charging documents. 

Baine was charged May 8 with one count each of injury to public record second-degree malicious mischief, forgery, second-degree identity theft and first-degree computer trespassing. Each charge is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 

Baine was released from the Lewis County Jail on $10,000 unsecured bail following his preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Wednesday. 

“I have to look whether I think you’re a threat to community safety or a threat to not appear, and I cannot find anything,” Judge James Lawler said of his bail decision. 

Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, May 16. 

His conditions of release prohibit him from contacting anyone with the City of Centralia or going onto city-owned property relevant to the case. 

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