Authorities in the United Kingdom have sentenced a 24-year-old man to five years in prison for stealing cryptocurrencies worth £34K (about $41,900) after threatening to chop off the victim’s fingers if they refused to oblige to his request, Bleeping Computers reported last week.
Hassan Crime Escapades
The verdict was passed at London’s Crown Court in Southwark on May 11. Authorities revealed that the convict, Karim Hassan, used Snapchat, an instant messaging app, to target people who sought to convert their cryptocurrencies to cash via peer-to-peer trades without using a registered crypto exchange.
Hassan lured his victims into meeting him in his black Audi A6 car where he would force them into giving up their phones. The 24-year-old criminal used extreme force on anyone who refused to comply, authorities said.
The convict sometimes described himself as a murderer to the victims while threatening to stab them in the neck if they don’t cooperate. At other times, he physically assaulted victims and threatened to chop off their fingers “one by one.”
One of the victims, Zain Hankin, said he lost a total of £20,000 ($24,600) in crypto after he was held at gunpoint in the car. Another victim known as Abbas Mamuod paid the convict over £10,000 ($12,300) after he was threatened with a pocket knife.
Abdullahi Goloid, another victim, explained that he was taken to an underground parking lot where Hassen and his gang manhandled him while threatening to rape, stripe and tie him up if he didn’t release his funds.
The criminals stole over £2,500 ($3,000) from Goloid, who had already memorized Hassen’s car number, which he reported to the police. Shortly after the incident, police caught him driving the same car Goloid described.
Crypto Mugging on the Rise
There has been a new wave of cryptocurrency mugging in the United Kingdom. Last week, UK police warned the public about the increasing rate of crypto robberies on the streets of London, noting that several victims have already lost thousands of pounds in cryptocurrencies.
These crypto muggers typically steal crypto investors’ phones from strategic places in the city and transfer funds stored in their digital wallets.