In a case of possible recycling gone horribly wrong, shredded confidential police documents were used as confetti in the recent Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
While normally the parade organizers, Macy's, uses "commercially manufactured, multicolor confetti, not shredded paper," a New York police department is now in trouble after its badly shredded, confidential documents were used as confetti in the parade.
As crowds were watching the floats and balloons go by in one of America's biggest annual spectacles, some people were rather surprised at the confetti that landed on their clothing. Many documents, imprinted with the letterhead of the Nassau Police Department, were seen amongst the paper. Some contained addresses, license numbers and even social security numbers.
Video screen capture
Part of a Nassau County Police Department letterhead in the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade confetti.
Even worse, some of the recovered scraps seem to be fragments of police reports and also private staff records, including records of undercover officers. One scrap even detailed the route used by Mitt Romney during a presidential debate last month.
According to the New York Post, some of the material remained scattered near Central Park West and West 65th Street on Saturday - even as the department vowed a thorough investigation.
Ethan Finkelstein, 18-year-old Tufts University freshman of Manhattan was one of the first to notice the unexpected paper shower and told reporters, "I'm just completely in shock."
“A friend of a friend was standing in front of me, and she had a big piece of confetti on her coat. She saw it had something on it, and we read it said SSN, like Social Security number,” he said.
“We started picking all the confetti up, and it had all kinds of stuff - birth dates, addresses, account information."
“I don’t know where it came from. All of a sudden it was everywhere!”
“At first I thought it might be documents from Macy’s employees until I saw that there were detectives’ names and information about crimes in there. This is really shocking!” he added.
Nassau County Police have apparently admitted that the documents do belong to them, but say they have no idea how they found their way to the crowd.
Inspector Kenneth Lack said, "The Nassau County Police Department is very concerned about this situation. We will be conducting an investigation into this matter as well as reviewing our procedures for the disposing of sensitive documents."