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Bitcoin Exchange Hit By Armed Robbers in Thwarted Theft

Ottawa police are seeking two suspects after an attempted armed robbery at a cryptocurrency exchange.

Three people entered the offices of Canadian Bitcoins in Ottowa carrying handguns and restrained four employees on Tuesday morning, according to CBC News. At that point, they attempted to compel one of the employees to make an outbound transaction from the exchange. A fifth employee called police before any assets could be taken, police told the news service.

One suspect has been arrested and another individual has already been apprehended and charged. The charges include robbery with a firearm and forcible confinement.

The names of the suspects were not released.

CBC News reported in a Facebook post that the suspects were looking for physical cash, but other armed robberies have successfully made off with cryptocurrency wallets.

The New York District Attorney’s Office filed armed robbery and kidnapping charges against New Jersey native Louis Meza after he allegedly stole more than $1.8 million of ether last November. In the filing, the DA’s office claimed Meza held his victim at gunpoint, forcing him to turn over a cell phone and private keys, which he used to access the victim’s digital wallet.

Ottawa police image via jiawangkun / Shutterstock

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Man Stole $1.8 Million in Ether After Armed Robbery, Prosecutors Say

The New York County District Attorney’s Office has filed armed robbery and kidnapping charges against a man alleged to have been involved in the theft of more than $1.8 million worth of ether, the cryptocurrency of the ethereum network.

Louis Meza, the DA’s office said yesterday, is being charged with grand larceny, kidnapping, robbery and criminal use of a firearm in connection with the Nov. 4 of an unnamed victim in New York. The charges were filed in the New York State Supreme Court.

Prosecutors allege that Meza met with the victim, knowing they possessed the ether holdings and arranged to a car service for them after that meeting. According to the indictment, an as-yet-named individual connected to the crime was hiding in the vehicle, at which point they “demanded that the victim turn over his cell phone, wallet, and keys while holding the victim at gunpoint.”

From there, Meza allegedly went to the victim’s apartment where they stole the ethers, according to the DA’s office.

The office explained yesterday:

“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.”

On top of the kidnapping and robbery charges, Meza was also charged with criminal possession of stolen property, computer tampering and computer trespass.

In statements, District Attorney Cyrus Vance speculated that additional crimes of this nature could occur in the future, citing growing prices in the cryptocurrency market.

“We can expect this type of crime to become increasingly common as cryptocurrency values surge upward,” said Vance.

Image Credit: Stockelements / Shutterstock.com

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.