Amsterdam police have confirmed that they have arrested an Icelandic fugitive alleged to have masterminded the theft of 600 bitcoin mining computers worth around $2 million.
Dutch police said that Sindri Thor Stefansson was arrested downtown in Amsterdam on Sunday evening, reports the Associated Press. They declined to provide further details regarding the situation.
Stefansson made headlines last week when he fled Sogn, a low-security prison, before boarding a flight to Sweden, the same plane which had Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, on board.
Dubbed the ‘Big Bitcoin Heist,’ in February Stefansson was arrested for his involvement in the theft of the mining computers. He was among 11 people arrested for allegedly stealing them in a number of burglaries that took place in December and January. The missing servers have yet to be recovered.
Following Stefansson’s arrest he was transferred to the low-security prison unbeknownst to Reykjavik police who weren’t aware that he had been moved out of the capital. According to Icelandic authorities, as he was not considered a dangerous inmate they removed him to Sogn prison. There, inmates are not fenced in and they have access to phones and the internet.
He is reported to have purchased his flight ticket, under a different name, an hour before the plane left. However, it was only after he had escaped and his flight had already left for Stockholm’s Arlanda airport that the prison guards reported him missing.
In a further twist of events, when Stefansson left the prison, and was evading police arrest, he wrote a letter to the local Icelandic newspaper Frettabladid explaining that he was allowed to leave the prison, but police are alleged to have told him he would be arrested if he did so.
I simply refuse to be in prison of my own free will, 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.
He added: ‘I would never have done this if I didn’t believe I was a free man.’
Dutch police say prosecutors are now working on Stefansson’s extradition.
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