A bitcoin trader in the Netherlands was reportedly subjected to gruesome torture in front of his four-year-old daughter. A local publication suspects the man’s cryptocurrency holdings may have been the motivation for the crime.
Dutch publication De Telegraaf reporting indicates that three robbers, somewhat disguised as police, invaded the cryptocurrency trader’s home. The man was threatened with firearms and seriously injured with a ‘heavy drill’, according to the report.
After an hour-long ordeal for the man and his daughter, the suspects left and are now being hunted as part of a major investigation. A fifteen-strong team of Dutch police, usually in charge of murder investigations, are working on the case. The team’s allocation shows the seriousness of the incident and Dutch authorities focus on solving the crime. There is no information to suggest that his cryptocurrency holdings were stolen.
De Telegraaf’s research discovered the victim was a cryptocurrency trader, which local police sources confirmed. The man reportedly worked in Italy and Thailand. The house in Drenthe, the Netherlands, where the incident took place had apparently been purchased in cash by the owner.
De Telegraaf outlines another recent case in the Netherlands, where an Enschede man was jailed for laundering two million Euros worth of bitcoin.
Criminals not only target legitimate cryptocurrency owners but also those known for money laundering using bitcoin and other digital currencies.
In December 2017, just as bitcoin’s price reached its $19,000 peak a 35-year old man was arrested and charged in New York for armed robbery and kidnapping. Louis Meza was accused of holding the victim in order to obtain the keys to a digital wallet. Meza was able to steal Ether valued at $1.8 million. At the time district attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr said:
This case demonstrates the increasingly common intersection between cyber and violent crime.
Meza reportedly knew his victim owned substantial amounts of cryptocurrency and Vance added:
We can expect this type of crime to become increasingly common as cryptocurrency values surge upward.
Later that month a bitcoin exchange executive, Pavel Lerner, was kidnapped and held for a $1 million bitcoin ransom in Kiev, Ukraine. The ransom was paid, and Lerner released, with the crime under investigation by Ukrainian police.
In January 2018 two bitcoin traders from the UK were robbed at gunpoint by masked home invaders in front of the couple’s infant child. The two victims had conducted over 100,000 cryptocurrency trades are were forced to transfer their cryptocurrency balances to the robbers.
Taiwan reported its first bitcoin robbery in February 2018 when four men were arrested after pretending to want to buy Bitcoin. They managed to steal 18 bitcoin, worth $188,000 at the time, from their cryptocurrency trading victim.
In October 2018 Makaveli Lindén was arrested in France accused of murdering a Norwegian Bitcoin investor Heikki Bjørklund Paltto. The crime may or may not have been connected to Paltto’s cryptocurrency investments, some of which he’d recently cashed in reportedly to purchase an apartment.
The latest bitcoin robbery is certainly gruesome and serious with no details as yet to the value stolen. If cryptocurrency balances have been transferred to the attackers the pseudo-anonymous nature of cryptocurrency wallet addresses may make them difficult, but not impossible, to trace.