With an inquiry to police in China, Icelandic authorities are checking to see if the 600 missing bitcoin miners from Iceland’s ‘Big Bitcoin Heist’ have surfaced in Asia.
According to a report by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV), the country’s national public-service broadcaster, the island’s police have sent Chinese police an inquiry about the latter’s seizure of 600 bitcoin mining rigs in late April.
Chinese police confiscated the equipment in a case of alleged power theft after a local power grid operator in the northeastern city of Tianjin observed abnormally high spikes in electricity consumption. An investigation revealed a tampered junction box, allegedly by bitcoin miners who had tweaked the mains to avoid charges.
Tianjin’s police claimed it was the “largest case of power theft in recent years” upon seizing the equipment, which also included eight high-power fans used to cool the mining operation.
Curiously, the machines seized in China have the same count as the number of machines stolen in Iceland, 600 in total between four separate burglaries in December and January. 100 power sources, 100 motherboards, 100 memory drives and 100 CPUs were also stolen in the spate of thefts.
Labeled as the ‘Big Bitcoin Heist’ by the Icelandic Media, the estimated value of the stolen equipment exceeds $2 million and is believed to be an organized crime leading to Iceland’s biggest ever theft.
It remains to be seen if there is a connection between the two incidents in Iceland and China or a case of mere coincidence.
The alleged mastermind behind the heist, Sindri Thor Stefansson, dramatically escaped an Icelandic prison through a window before taking a 60-mile trek to Keflavík International Airport before boarding a plane – which also carried Iceland’s prime minister – to Sweden. He was subsequently arrested in Amsterdam a week later and has since expressed regret for fleeing from that safe and comfortable prison in Iceland.
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