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Man Allegedly Kidnaps Friend at Gunpoint and Steals $1.8m of Cryptocurrency

A man has appeared in a New York court charged with robbing an acquaintance of his cryptocurrency hoard. Louis Meza allegedly had a gunman point a pistol at his friend’s head after luring him into a minivan and persuading him to part with his wallet seed. The offense, which is reported to have taken place on November 4, netted $1.8 million in cryptocurrency.

Also read: Tax Investigators Raid Bitcoin Exchanges Across India

With Friends Like These

Technology might be getting smarter, but the same cannot be said of criminals. If the allegations against Louis Meza are proven correct, the 35-year-old committed one of the most brazen and unsophisticated robberies imaginable. Millions of dollars of ether were stolen after Meza lured his supposed friend into a van and had his accomplice point a pistol at him. Due to the nature of blockchains, police were able to easily follow the flow of stolen ether, which reportedly showed up in the accused’s account the next day.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. stated in court that the case demonstrates “the increasingly common intersection between cyber and violent crime,” the NY Daily News reports. In reality, it shows nothing of the short. All the case demonstrates is that violent crooks will do what violent crooks do best: go for the easiest low hanging fruit. In this case it was cryptocurrency, but had the accused’s assets been in the form of gold, dollars, or Air Jordan sneakers, there’s every likelihood they would have befallen a similar fate.

Man Allegedly Kidnaps Friend at Gunpoint and Steals $1.8m of Cryptocurrency
A glum looking Louis Meza appears in court

What is indisputable however is that the sharp rise in value of cryptocurrency this year has turned former friends and acquaintances into targets for the unscrupulous. Cases such as this illustrate the need to keep the extent of one’s cryptocurrency portfolio private. What may be a modest amount now has the potential to turn into a windfall in future, leaving individuals vulnerable to theft. The case also illustrates the the danger of the five dollar wrench attack, as recently noted by news.Bitcoin.com: the notion that even the strongest password in the world is no match for an angry man wielding a gun or wrench.

After being arraigned at Manhattan Supreme Court, Meza pled not guilty to grand larceny, kidnapping, and robbery, and was held on a $1 million bond, with bail set at $500,000 cash. Manhattan Supreme Court does not accept cryptocurrency.

Do you keep the extent of your cryptocurrency holdings hidden from friends? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and New York Daily News.

Tired of those other forums on the subject of Bitcoin? Check forum.Bitcoin.com.

Tags in this story
Crime, Cybercrime, district attorney, ether, Ethereum, Manhattan, N-Featured, new york, robbery, stolen coins, Theft, wallet seed
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Kai Sedgwick

Kai's been playing with words for a living since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $12. It's long gone. He's previously written white papers for blockchain startups and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.