Criminals using a stolen pickup truck attempted to steal a Bitcoin ATM in a smash-and-grab raid in Texas, causing $10,000 worth of damage.
As announced by the Houston Police Department (HPD), seven people have been arrested after allegedly crashing the truck into the window of a smoke shop in the southwest of the city at 6am on Friday.
After crashing the truck, the group grabbed what they could but were unable to steal the ATM, according to police.
The gang also stole various tools from the truck’s owner, who told ABC, “They took everything from me. I don’t have work right now and I have to look for a job.”
Footage of the attempted robbery.
The smoke shop owner estimates the damages will run close to $10,000. In an interview with ABC, she said, “Please put in the jail, these crazy people. They are not safe. Because they do this almost three or four times. We do hard work and they just do a minute and mess up all things.”
The shop will remain closed until repairs are complete. Police haven’t revealed any more details about the suspects.
Bitcoin ATMs targeted for physical and digital cash
Bitcoin ATMs are used to convert and transfer physical cash into bitcoin, or vice versa, typically for astronomical rates.
In the past, they’ve been targeted by thieves in Barcelona for the cash they hold, and in 2018, four men nearly bankrupted a Bitcoin ATM company after going on a double spending spree in Canada.
However, reporting from ABC seemingly misunderstands how the ATMs work. It said, “Thieves were not successful because, here’s the thing, Bitcoin is a digital currency so there’s not actual money inside those machines.”
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Even if there was no cash inside, selling the ATM on the secondary market could have fetched the group anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000 dollars, depending on the brand and model.
Bitcoin ATMs are also the target of online hackers looking to steal the crypto being exchanged. Indeed, in one case, users reported losing more than $16,000 in a hack that may have been Russian interference with a Ukraine charity.
Leading Bitcoin ATM manufacturer General Bytes reported a hack that stole $1.5 million worth of crypto from both its users and the company.
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