Police search researcher’s office after colleague’s files copied

Tim Sturrock

An investigation into the duplication of a University professor’s stem cell research data led to the Dec. 6 seizure of a fellow researcher’s hard drive and Zip disks by University police.

University stem cell researcher Wei Chen discovered Nov. 26 that someone copied the files of his unpublished research, as well as information regarding his tenure and promotion to associate professor, according to a Hennepin County search warrant.

Police searched the office of Wayne Godfrey, a University researcher, and the research area of his assistant, Mark Krampf. The two have not been charged or arrested in the case.

Godfrey did not return phone calls. Krampf said he has retained legal counsel and would not comment otherwise.

A Facilities Management employee working the night the files were copied told police Krampf and Godfrey were in the building at that time and the door to Chen’s office might have been left open, the search warrant said.

The files were copied the night before Thanksgiving. Godfrey and his assistant were to relocate from the lab they shared with Chen a few days later, according to the search warrant.

Chen said he has received several promotions and large research grants, while Godfrey has received none, and that he would not allow Godfrey to view the research until it was published, despite several requests, the search warrant said.

Chen told police Krampf had boasted that he could bypass any University pass code, the warrant said.

Krampf had worked for another University researcher before Godfrey. He refused to return data he had been working on until a month after he left, the warrant said.

The warrant said the recovery is urgent as the data could be published in a matter of weeks.

The warrant closed by saying only another researcher would have the knowledge and desire to access the information.

University police said the case is still under investigation.