Amsterdam police have announced the re-arrest of Sindri Thor Stefansson. He was initially arrested days ago in Iceland in connection with a bitcoin hardware mining caper that included 600 computers worth $2 million. In a James Bond-like villain move, after his first capture he managed to escape, reportedly hitching a ride on a plane carrying Iceland’s prime minister.
Mr. Stefansson, after have absconded, wrote to a popular online site to plead his case. “I simply refuse to be in prison of my own free will,” he explained to Frettabladid, “especially when the police threaten to arrest me without explanation. I’m not trying to say that it was the right decision to leave, I really regret it…I didn’t expect an international arrest warrant to be issued against me, as I was legally free to leave, and believed it was out of the question that I would be labelled a fugitive. I would never have done this if I didn’t believe I was a free man.”
It’s something straight out of a movie. Media outlets are claiming Sindri Thor Stefansson to be a “mastermind”. He, at the very least, was implicated recently in a major crime for the country of Iceland: $2 million in computer mining hardware is missing, believed to be part of an elaborate theft conspiracy, involving a gang of 11 others including Mr. Stefansson’s wife.
Mr. Stefansson escaped what local press refers to as “low-security” confinement after first being arrested. He was held in Sogn, an open prison 59 miles from the country’s international airport (95 km). It’s so loose it doesn’t have a fence, and detainees can even surf the net.
The mastermind slipped out through a window. He somehow later made it to the airport, procuring a flight boarding pass under an assumed name (though he paid with his own debit card), and managed to put himself on a flight to Sweden carrying Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir. He wasn’t discovered missing by guards until well after the plane was airbound. An international warrant was soon issued for Mr. Stefansson.
The Big Bitcoin Heist, as it has been tagged on the frozen island, involved bitcoin mining rigs grabbed in conjunction with four data center break-ins. Iceland has become a magnet for crypto miners due to relatively cheap electricity and its cold climes, helping the notoriously overheated instruments cool as they mine.
Mr. Stefansson’s unorthodox public letter while on the run insisted he could remain elusive to authorities for “as long as I like”. Dutch police disagreed, arresting him downtown without incident and are presently arranging for his extradition back to Iceland.