Man gets friend kidnapped to steal $1.8 million worth of Ethereum

As you might know, the value of Bitcoin suddenly increased this month and that motivated hackers to target cryptocurrency exchanges and steal user funds or shut down their service so no one can withdraw their funds. But those who cannot hack or mine cryptocurrency are physically assaulting people for it.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, authorities charged a New York City resident with crimes including kidnapping and stealing $1.8 million worth of ether from his friend’s cryptocurrency wallet at gunpoint.

It all happened on 4th November when 35-year-old Louis Meza had a meeting with a friend at his apartment. After the meeting, Meza called a car service for the friend to take him back to his place. The friend who has not been identified thought the hired minivan would take him to his place but in reality, the driver pulled out a gun and demanded 24-word secret passphrase for his Ethereum (Bitcoin rival) cryptocurrency.

Moreover, the driver also demanded to hand over his house keys, mobile phone, and wallet. The day after the kidnapping took place, a sum of $1.8 million showed up in Meza’s account. According to the official statement issued by the DA:

“Video surveillance later obtained from the victim’s apartment building showed Meza using the set of keys stolen from the victim to enter the victim’s apartment and then leave the apartment holding a box believed to contain the victim’s digital wallet. Additional records reveal that soon after obtaining the victim’s digital wallet, the defendant then transferred approximately $1.8 million in Ether to his own personal account.”

Man kidnaps friend; steals $1.8 million worth of his Ethereum​
Louis Meza (LinkedIn)

Meza has been arrested and charged yet he has denied any involvement in the case. The victim, however, called 911 after escaping the scene while the man was busy collecting his items. Authorities are still looking for the identity of minivan driver, reported Gizmodo.

This incident is a lesson for cryptocurrency investors; take notes and do not share your investment details with anyone. Also, keep your cryptocurrency related data secure since malware attacks are also increasing, simply put: Apparently, you have more enemies than friends. Happy mining!


Carolina works for HackRead as a technical writer. She is a Brazilian traveller who has been to almost every country around the world. She has a keen interest in technology, gadgets and social media.