The alleged organizer of a string of computer thefts in Iceland has been arrested in Amsterdam after going on the run from an Icelandic prison. The computers in question were used for cryptocurrency mining operations.
Escaping from prison tends to conjure up images of blueprints tattooed on your body, or perhaps using a teaspoon to slowly tunnel through the ground and eventually crawl out to freedom. For Sindri Thor Stefansson, however, he just had to climb out of a window and walk away.
Biggest Theft in Iceland
According to The Guardian, Stefansson is seen as the mastermind behind the theft of 600 computers in Iceland during December last year and January this year. The computers, worth over $2 million, were thought to be stolen in order to mine cryptocurrencies.
The country has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, which could be why Iceland’s police commissioner, Olafur Helgi Kjartansson, has referred to the incident as “a grand theft on a scale unseen before”. As of this time, the computers have not been recovered.
The Perfect Escape
The low-security prison in Sogn, emphasis on low, has no fences surrounding it, and inmates also have access to phones and the internet. After escaping on the 17th of April, Stefansson traveled about 59 miles to the Keflavík International Airport, where he boarded a plane to Sweden using a false passport.
According to police chief Gunnar Schram:
He had an accomplice. We are sure of that.
Stefansson was only reported missing after the plane had taken flight. In a weird twist, Iceland’s Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, was reportedly on the same flight en route to a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.
End of the Road
However, Sweden was not the final destination for the fugitive. Stefansson’s adventure came to a swift end when he was arrested in Amsterdam on the 22nd of April.
According to AP News, a police spokesperson, Rob van der Veen, confirmed the arrest but did not provide further details except to state that authorities will be working on the extradition process.
Semantics and Technicalities
However, in a letter that Stefansson sent to the popular Icelandic newspaper, Fréttablaðið, he states that he technically did not escape as his holding period had expired on the 16th of April.
After authorities requested an extension of 10 more days, the judge at the time stated that he would consider the extension request over a 24-hour period. Because of this, Stefansson claimed that he was technically free when he left the prison on the 17th of April before he was informed of the judge’s decision.
Mining on the Rise
Contrary to its name, Iceland has become a hotspot for cryptocurrency mining thanks to its cheap renewable energy and, of course, cold climate. However, in the case of the former, there is definitely not an infinite amount available.
This seems to be a cause of concern for both the government and energy companies in the country who fear that demand will soon overtake supply.
What do you think of Stefansson’s escape? Will Iceland continue to be a popular destination for crypto mining? Let us know in the comments below!
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