The ringleader of the “Big Bitcoin Heist” in Iceland that saw 600 mining machines stolen was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison.
The people of Iceland can breathe a little bit easier tonight as the ringleader of the biggest robbery in the country’s history has finally been sentenced to prison. Until recently, the small nation of 348,680 was mostly known as the country of origin for Bjork, the musical sprite. The last couple of years has seen an influx of Bitcoin miners eager to take advantage of Iceland’s abundant and cheap renewable energy. Crime in the country is practically non-existent, which is why the theft of 600 Bitcoin mining machines in late 2017 and early 2018 made headlines.
The ‘Big Bitcoin Heist’
The largest robbery in Iceland’s history was the theft of 600 Bitcoin mining machines from several data centers. The machines had a total value of roughly $2 million. The robbery was dubbed the “Big Bitcoin Heist” due to the total value of the stolen merchandise and the coordination needed to pull it off.
Eventually, the members of the criminal gang were rounded up, including Sindri Por Stefansson, the ringleader of the operation. After a long, convoluted set of circumstances, Stefansson was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. His six partners in crime received a total of 9 years and 7 months between them. The mining company that they stole from was compensated for their loss to the tune of $200,000.
However, the time between the initial arrest and the sentencing for Stefansson is the most intriguing part of the whole case.
Get Out of Jail Free Card – Walk Away!
While some may focus on the theft of the 600 crypto mining machines, it’s the jailbreak that Stefansson pulled off last year while initially detained that is utterly fascinating.
One could easily imagine an elaborate plan, creating the necessary tools for escape while avoiding the watchful eyes of guards, and bribing someone for the prison blueprints for enabling Stefansson to bust his way out of prison. Such was not the case.
Stefansson literally climbed out a window, walked to the road, and then caught a ride to the airport. It should be noted that he was held in a low-level security prison, which had no walls or outside barrier to prevent inmates from escaping if they got outside.
In addition, he had already booked a flight to Stockholm on his mobile phone, the possession of which is fully allowed by the prison. An interesting twist is that the prime minister of Iceland was also on the same flight. Once in Stockholm, he traveled to Amsterdam, where he was then arrested and sent back to Iceland.
Even better is that Stefansson says he was fully entitled to leave the prison. Law enforcement asked the judge in the case to extend his stay in jail for 10 more days, and the judge said he would consider the request over the next 24 hours. However, Stefansson said that his hold time had technically ended as the judge had not yet extended it when he decided to leave (by climbing out a window and having someone pick him up and take him to the airport).
Overall, it’s a fascinating case, and the prison break totally blows my mind. (No fences!) It should be noted that the stolen Bitcoin mining machines have not been recovered.
What do you think about this crazy criminal caper? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Adobe Stock and Pixabay.