Icelandic bitcoin heist suspect arrested in Amsterdam after leaving prison

An Icelandic man accused of being involved in the Nordic country’s “Big Bitcoin Heist” has been arrested in Amsterdam, after having reportedly walked out of a rural Icelandic prison recently.

According to Rob van der Veen, a spokesman for the Dutch police, Sindri Thor Stefansson was arrested Sunday around 8pm local time.

“[Stefansson] was arrested in the center of Amsterdam,” van der Veen emailed Ars. “He’s in custody, and the public prosecutor will have further contact with the Iceland authorities concerning the extradition.”

Icelandic authorities believe Stefansson is connected to the recent theft of 600 bitcoin-mining computers.

According to an account in the Icelandic newspaper , which was translated into English for Ars by a kind redditor, Stefansson may have believed that his detention was, in fact, over. However, while he was at the airport awaiting a flight to Stockholm, Sweden, a judge extended his detention order.

“I would never flee from prison if my freedom was legally removed by a judge; that is a fact,” he said in a statement sent to the paper.

“I have not been presented with any evidence, and I was threatened with long isolation while in solitary confinement. I was told numerous times that I could just walk out if I would locate the so-called loot I was accused of stealing. I was put in solitary confinement, as punishment, because [law enforcement] could not find said loot, without evidence.”

Stefansson added that he plans to return to Iceland.

“I can stay running as long as I want; I have contacted a group of people that will give me shelter, transport, faked identification, and money if need be to survive,” he said. “It would be the easiest thing if I wanted to, but I rather want and intend to deal with this issue at home in Iceland, so I will return soon.”

As Ars has reported previously, given that electricity is relatively cheap in Iceland compared to other parts of Europe—thanks to the country’s plentiful geothermal energy—bitcoin mining has been in high demand despite Iceland’s population of just over 300,000 people.

Later this year, bitcoin mining is expected to draw more energy than all of Iceland’s residents combined.

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