It has been reported that the suspect who was reported to have been involved in a huge Bitcoin heist has reportedly escaped prison and fled to Sweden on the same plane that was also carrying the Icelandic prime minister.
Sindri Thor Stefansson was the alleged mastermind behind the theft of 600 computers used to mine Bitcoin in Iceland. A crime he was sent to prison for. It has been reported that he escaped through the window of the low-security prison in rural southern Iceland where he was being held, before he boarded a flight to Sweden, that left from the international airport in Keflavik, located less than 60 miles from the prison.
Police believe that he was not working alone, and travelled using a passport in someone else’s name, and was only identified through a surveillance video. The police chief, Gunnar Schram said;
“He had an accomplice…We are sure of that.”
The low security prison had no fences surrounding it, and inmates have access to both internet and phones. The guards did not report him missing until the after the flight had already taken off. He had been in the prison for just 11 days before his escape, although he had been in custody since February. Since his escape, an international warrant has been issued for his arrest, although police confirmed that no arrest had been made in Sweden yet.
On top of his great escape, the icing on cake was that the plane was also carrying the Icelandic prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, where they were heading to a meeting with India’s prime minister which was being held in Stockholm.
Iceland as a country has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, so this prison break out has certainly shocked the country, which has a population of 340,000. The theft was dubbed as the ‘big Bitcoin heist’ by the local media, and Stefansson was among 11 people who were arrested for stealing the cryptocurrency mining equipment that was used to steal all of the Bitcoin. The stolen computers have yet to be found, and police have confirmed that they have arrested 22 people in total, without actually solving the crime.
A sociology professor from the University of Iceland, Helgo Gunnlaugsson, spoke about the crime in question and revealed that it was a strange decision to have kept a high-profile prisoner in a low security prison, allowing his organise escape to take place, saying;
“Prison breaks in Iceland usually mean someone just fled to get drunk…The underworlds are tiny and it is extremely difficult to hide, let alone flee the country.”
The country has become a hotspot for cryptocurrency mining, due to the large amounts of renewable energy and cold climate. These low prices have made it very easy for miners to make a profit, but in turn has led to operators within Iceland to consume more electricity than households.
The owners of the computer that were stolen, have announced a huge reward should anyone lead detectives to where the stolen computers are being held.