Bitcoin trader brutally tortured with drill in cryptocurrency robbery

Criminals disguised as police attacked the victim for an hour in front of his four-year-old daughter

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 05 March 2019 13:09 GMT
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Police in the Netherlands are investigating the brutal torture of a bitcoin trader, whose home was raided by criminals looking for cryptocurrency.

Three robbers disguised as police entered the victim's home in Drenthe and attacked him with a drill in front of his four-year-old daughter, Dutch publication De Telegraaf reported.

The hour-long ordeal also involved the victim being threatened with firearms, before the perpetrators fled in an escape vehicle. The digital nature of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies mean long and complex passwords – or private keys – are required to access assets and transfer them to another digital wallet.

Police did not reveal the identity of the victim but it is not believed any cryptocurrency was stolen during the raid.

A spokesperson for Northern Netherlands Police told The Independent that the investigation is ongoing.

It is not the first time criminals have targeted cryptocurrency investors and traders, with the earliest reported instance taking place in 2015.

In February of that year, New York City firefighter Dwayne Richards was stabbed in Willamsburg, Brooklyn, by muggers who demanded he transferred bitcoin to their digital wallets.

Bitcoin, which is currently worth around $3,800 (£2,800), is semi-anonymous and therefore difficult to trace to a single individual.

Since its peak in late 2017, bitcoin has lost close to three quarters of its value, yet still remains an attractive prospect for criminals.

Criminals are targeting bitcoin traders in an effort to extort cryptocurrency
Criminals are targeting bitcoin traders in an effort to extort cryptocurrency (Getty Images)

In one of the most notable examples of criminals targeting holders of bitcoin, kidnappers in the Ukraine made more than $1 million in digital currency in 2017 after ransoming cryptocurrency analyst Pavel Lerner.

The UK's first bitcoin heist took place in January last year, when armed robbers broke into the home of cryptocurrency trader Danny Aston in Moulsford, South Oxfordshire.

Mr Aston was tied up during the home invasion and an unknown quantity of bitcoin was seized by the attackers.

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