Network outage crimps work of Va. state police

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) ? Virginia State Police say a computer network outage left them unable for several hours to perform such routine tasks as running fingerprints, conducting background checks and registering sex offenders.

Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says the system outage began about 1:30 p.m. and last until around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The outage temporarily crippled the Virginia Criminal Information Network, which alerts police if a person pulled over is wanted by police or is in a stolen vehicle. It also is used to complete background checks required for buying firearms, so gun purchases were temporarily halted as well. The network averages more than 1 million transactions per day.

It was the latest in a rash of sporadic outages to hit a state computer system.

Authorities declined immediate comment on what caused the outage.