When Louis Meza set up his crypto millionaire friend to be robbed last November, New York City prosecutors had no trouble indicting him. However, the three other men who were involved in kidnapping the Ethereum millionaire were able to evade capture, at least until last week.
According to The New York Daily News, three members of a Bronx biker gang have been formally charged in connection to the crime, and if convicted, they could face 25 years in prison.
Cesar Guzman (Fuego), Allan Nunez (Joker), and Darrell Colon (Bishop) were instrumental to kidnapping and extorting nearly $2 million USD worth of Ethereum from their victim, in a daring daylight kidnapping. The men apparently worked together to lure the victim into a fake Uber and then held him captive and threatened him with lethal violence.
The assailants were eventually successful in taking possession of the codes that would allow them access to the victim’s crypto wallet. After two hours of intimidation, they were seen entering the victims home, where they proceeded to make off with the Ethereum. The rise in crypto prices has certainly created wealth, but with that wealth come problems.
The victim of the Bronx bikers is hardly alone, and as cryptos have gone mainstream, their wealthy owners have received unwanted attention at times. While crypto prices have been weaker this year, the drop in price did nothing to deter three criminals from attempting to rob a Toronto-based crypto exchange.
In January of this year, three men armed with handguns entered a business called “Canadian Bitcoins” and were able to tie up four employees. They tried to coerce the employees to send them Bitcoins, which they were not able to do. A fifth employee called the police, and the assailants fled without anything of value.
Canadian police were able to apprehend one of the gunmen quickly, and thankfully no one was hurt. Many crypto owners are careful about losing their assets to hackers, but as these two examples illustrate, crypto owners need to be very careful about physical safety as well.
Storing valuable private keys in an ex-Swiss military bunker may seem like a little bit of an overkill, but as cryptos become more popular, keeping them safe is a concern. Xapo has purchased numerous secure areas across the globe and has created protocols to ensure that their clients aren’t the victim of kidnapping and torture.
It is worth remembering that banks serve more then one role, and if the modern banking model is replaced by cryptos, keeping valuable assets safe will have to be achieved by some other means. Xapo is one example of how it could be done, though for smaller clients some other system could make more sense.