Timberwolves Employee Arrested on Startling Burglary Charge

A disgruntled employee took a work hard drive containing critical strategic team information from the Target Center office of the Minnesota Timberwolves analytics department head last month, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.

Somak Sarkar, 33, was dismissed from the Timberwolves and then arrested on Monday. He faces felony third-degree burglary charges in Hennepin County District Court, according to Paul Walsh of the Star Tribune.

Sarkar is presently in detention, with bail set at $40,000, and is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday afternoon.

Timberwolves’ theft details

According to the complaint, on February 2, the Timberwolves’ Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Sachin Gupta, left a hard drive linked to a laptop in his office at the Target Center. When Gupta came to work on February 5, the hard drive was gone. According to subsequent surveillance footage reviewed by security, Sarkar entered Gupta’s office twice on February 3, “after checking to see if anyone could see him,” before leaving.

The complaint and a search warrant affidavit issued by the police to obtain court clearance to search Sarkar’s apartment near Target Center detail the facts of the alleged theft. This includes looking for any evidence of potential financial advantage from selling the stolen financial and proprietary Timberwolves data.

According to the complaint, a search of Sarkar’s flat turned up several hard drives, a computer, three tablets, and multiple USB drives. Police determined that one of these devices “contained all of the information from [Gupta’s] hard drive.”

Contents of Sachin Gupta’s hard drive

Gupta recovered the hard drive a little more than a week later. However, about 5,700 files were copied during the burglary, which included sensitive information such as employment and player contracts, as well as strategic NBA data.

The hard disk also contained Gupta’s tax returns, bank information, and login credentials and passwords from a password management tool, according to the complaint.

As head of the analytics department, Gupta had access to critical and proprietary information that the Timberwolves kept secret from other teams. This data contains critical information on actors, decision-making processes, contracts, and trade agreements.

With proprietary information at risk of being shared with other clubs, the Timberwolves’ competitiveness in an ever-changing NBA landscape may suffer dramatically.

According to the complaint, Sarkar informed police during his interrogation following his arrest that he had Gupta’s hard drive as part of his teaching obligations to “put some stuff on it” but neglected to return it.

Somak Sarkar’s Background

Sarkar joined the Timberwolves in August 2021 after previously working in analytics for the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he worked as a basketball operations intern for the Houston Rockets from October 2012 until June 2013.

The team issued a statement stating that they are “aware of these allegations and will not provide further comment as it is an ongoing legal matter.”

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