People will go through great lengths to get their hands on cryptocurrency. After all, assets are booming like they never have before, and bitcoin is on the verge of once again hitting $64,000 per unit, which was the new all-time high it achieved in April of this year. However, who would be nasty enough to kidnap someone over it? This is the situation at hand as a 14-year-old boy was taken against his will after talking about his growing crypto stash on social media.
The Boy Made a Lot of Money; Others Wanted It
The boy is remaining anonymous at the time of writing, though reports have mentioned that he hails from England. He was stepping out of a restaurant in the town of Bradford when he was confronted by a gang of kidnappers who seized him, covered his mouth so he couldn’t call for help, and then shoved him into a nearby vehicle.
Muhammed Khubaib – the 22-year-old owner of the vehicle – reportedly punched the boy in the face with a sand-filled glove. The kidnappers then told the boy that he needed to call his mother and that she would need to pay a ransom of roughly 10,000 pounds or else her son “wouldn’t be going home.” After a bit of negotiation, Laura McBride – the boy’s mother – got the kidnappers to agree to a 900-pound payment. The boy was then returned.
A few days later, the mother and her son reported the incident to law enforcement. Khubaib was tracked down and arrested, though he is the only one in custody at press time. The remaining kidnappers have not been prosecuted or identified.
Khubaib pleaded guilty to taking part in the kidnapping scheme. He also pled guilty to blackmail charges and was sentenced to four years in prison earlier in the week. Detective Constable Paul Maxwell explained in a statement:
We welcome the sentence which has been passed down to Khubaib today at court. He pleaded guilty to both counts he was charged with in May. The victim, a young teenager, was vulnerable to criminal exploitation and Khubaib tried to exploit him for money. This was an incredibly distressing incident for both the victim and the victim’s mother, but thankfully both were not injured during the incident and have been given help and support by the police and partner agencies.
A Year of Theft and Fraud?
Judge Richard Mansell – who presided over the case – explained that he felt the boy was specifically targeted due to comments he made on social media, which spoke of heavy returns he had experienced following several bitcoin investments.
2021 has been wrought with heavy cases of cyberattacks and bitcoin or cryptocurrency-related thefts, including one on the Poly Network which saw more than $600 million in digital tokens disappear. The funds were later returned on the promise that the hacker would receive a job with the firm and a $500,000 bonus.