A 32-year-old Brazilian woman was recently rescued by the Civil Police on the east side of São Paulo, Brazil. The woman, married to a bitcoin businessman, was kidnapped in Florianopolis on Wednesday. The ransom was demanded in bitcoin and another unnamed cryptocurrency, according to local publication Diário Catarinense.
The kidnappers approached the victim right after she dropped her daughter off at school, 50 meters away from where she lives. While on their way to the city, the kidnappers contacted the victim’s husband demanding the ransom, sending him a video of the victim in which she said she didn’t know where she and that was being kidnapped.
According to Anselmo Cruz, the officer in charge of the investigation from Dec, a criminal investigation unit, this is the first time kidnappers in Brazil demand a cryptocurrency ransom. Access to bitcoin, according to the police, would be given by the victim’s husband.
In a translated statement, Mr Cruz said:
“Early on in the investigation, I spoke with a few colleagues from all over Brazil and there was never a kidnap attempt in which a payment in virtual currency was demanded. This is unprecedented in Brazil. The main goal was to expedite the transaction, but that wasn’t possible.”
The husband then contacted the police and started negotiating with the criminals – who demanded a “large amount of bitcoin” – in an attempt to delay paying the ransom. The victim’s husband told criminals that cryptocurrency’s trading volume in the country wasn’t large enough for him to have the demanded amount available.
Due to bitcoin’s nature, it would be extremely hard for police to track down the criminals based on the address they would use to receive the money. During negotiations, however, the officers were able to locate and rescue the woman.
Police believe the victim was handpicked, and that there were at least six people involved in the crime. So far, only one has been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.
Officer Raphael Werling, who participated in the operation, said:
“It was a very difficult operation, but we managed to free the person. She isn’t injured.”
The victim’s daughter turned six this Saturday, the 29th, the day her mother was rescued. Her husband told local news agencies having her mother back was the best birthday gift she could ever get.