As most of the cryptocurrencies are surging upwards with seemingly no plans of coming down, robbers are also heating up their unlawful activities to get their hands on as many of those profitable assets as they can.
Although online cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges are the easiest and the primary way of stealing, the digital currency can also be stolen un-digitally. On Monday the New York City District Attorney office announced that it has charged a man with crimes of kidnapping his friend and then snatching $1.8 million of Ethereum from him at gunpoint.
The culprit named Louis Meza was charged with “coordinating an elaborate kidnapping, armed robbery and burglary to gain access to the victim’s digital valet and the significant funds it contained,” by the DA’s office in the New York State Supreme court.
The 35-year old lawbreaker arranged a meeting with the victim at his apartment on November 4th and later called a taxi for the Ethereum holder friend. According to the indictment, another (unidentified) man was allegedly waiting in the minivan with a gun. After the victim entered the vehicle the burglars “demanded that the victim turns over his cell phone, wallet, and keys while holding the victim at gunpoint.”
After that, Meza allegedly went to the victim’s apartment and stole his wallet containing $1.8 million worth of ether, said the DA’s office.
“Video surveillance later obtained from the victim’s apartment building showed MEZA using the set of keys stolen from the victim to enter the victim’s apartment and then leave the apartment holding a box believed to contain the victim’s digital wallet. Additional records reveal that soon after obtaining the victim’s digital wallet, the defendant then transferred approximately $1.8 million in Ether to his own personal account,” explained the official.
The DA’s office says that the box holding the digital wallet was stolen (physically) from the apartment, so we can presume that the box contained either paper containing the code to unlock the cryptocurrency wallet or a hard drive storing the ether.
According to police, while the robbers were still in the apartment, the victim managed to escape the minivan and called 911.
Meza was taken into custody and along with kidnapping and robbery charges, he was also charged with other offenses including stolen property possessions, computer trespassing and computer tampering.
The District Attorney Cyrus Vance speculates that crimes of such nature may occur in the future in accordance with the growing cryptocurrency prices.
“We can expect this type of crime to become increasingly common as cryptocurrency values surge upward,” said Vance.
So, the only advice for all the cryptocurrency holders is to take proper safety measures if you hold a considerable amount and try to avoid the ‘Show and Tell’ business.