While sophisticated hackers breached CoinCheck’s security systems and ‘escaped’ with $400 million worth of NEM, criminals in Canada were a little less finesse and little more physical…
Employees at a Nepean, Ontario bitcoin business received a nasty surprise earlier this week: Three armed men showed up at their business, held them up at gunpoint, tied them up and tried to force them to transfer a bitcoin ransom to one of their accounts.
The incident occurred at 10:55 am when the three suspects gained entry to Canadian Bitcoins on Concourse Gate, which is just west of the intersection of Colonnade Road and Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa Citizen.
A fifth employee was in another office and called the police; the three masked men fled when the squad cars arrived…
Armed with handguns, police said they tied up four employees, one of whom would later need medical attention after being hit in the head with a handgun.
The suspects tried to coerce employees into completing a transaction, Staff Sgt. Michael Haarbosch said. Bitcoin is not a physical currency, but a cryptocurrency that can be exchanged for other currencies, products and services. At the moment, one bitcoin is worth around $13,700.
A fifth employee was in another office and called police. The suspects fled empty-handed.
Officers quickly spotted a suspect running into a ravine north of Colonnade Road and called for backup. One suspect was arrested without incident while two others were still at large.
One of the men was caught by police, but apparently has refused to divulge the identities of his compatriots.
Jimmy St-Hilaire, 19, was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on charges including five counts each of robbery, pointing a firearm and forcible confinement plus wearing a disguise and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. He also faces charges that he carried a concealed weapon and had a loaded gun to commit a crime while banned from having firearms.
The two suspects at large are described as black men. Police also want to talk to a “person of interest” who was inside the business when the suspects arrived.
On Wednesday afternoon, police returned to the scene to search for a gun used in the robbery.
A message posted on the door of Canadian Bitcoins advised customers that the office would be temporarily closed to walk-in customers until Jan. 28 at noon, although online orders were being processed as usual.
Businesses next to Bitcoin were not open, but a worker at a company a few doors down said he saw police cruisers screech into the commercial building’s parking lot and get out with their guns drawn Tuesday morning.