A parade-goer watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on New York's Upper West Side noticed that the confetti that fell on him and some friends contained what appeared to be confidential personal information about Nassau County Police Department employees, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, bank routing numbers—even references to Mitt Romney's motorcade during last month's presidential debate at Hofstra University.
Ethan Finkelstein, a Tufts University freshman who was home on Thanksgiving break, showed WPIX-TV some of the confetti, which led to the police investigation.
It turns out an employee of the Police Department who was watching the parade brought "shredded NCPD documents with him for his family and friends to use as confetti," according to WPIX. Nassau County Police officials would not disclose the name of the employee.
"I'm just completely in shock," Finkelstein said. "How could someone have this kind of information, and how could it be distributed at the Thanksgiving Day parade?"
"The Nassau County Police Department is very concerned about this situation," Nassau County Police Inspector Kenneth Lack said in a statement. "We will be conducting an investigation into this matter as well as reviewing our procedures for the disposing of sensitive documents."
Macy's, for its part, maintains that the confetti it used during the parade did not include badly shredded police documents.
"[We use] commercially manufactured, multicolor confetti," a spokesperson for Macy's told the network, "not shredded paper."