SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A former California state employee downloaded sensitive personal information about tthousands of fellow workers, potentially exposing them to identity theft, according to state officials.

The information included Social Security numbers for Department of Fish and Wildlife employees and contractors, The Sacramento Bee reported Friday.

The breach was discovered before Christmas but wasn't disclosed until this week.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating, the department said in a memo to employees, but it said the former employee did not appear to have had malicious intent. It did not say if investigators believe criminals might have accessed the data.

The department did not say why the former employee downloaded the information to an unsecured device or network.

A department memo says the data includes the names and Social Security numbers of employees who worked at the department and the California Wildlife Conservation Board in 2007. It included personal information for vendors who worked with the department and board between 2007 and 2010.

About 2,300 people worked for the department in 2007.

The memo urged employees to contact a credit monitoring bureau and to look to the state attorney general's office for tips on monitoring identity theft.