Caught on Camera: Thieves Steal Bitcoin ATM From DC Mall

Neil Dennis

Two thieves were seen on security cameras in a U.S. shopping mall stealing a bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM) and loading it in their van.

Cameras showed the pair walking into the mall with a trolly and then exiting through the same doors with the ATM on the trolly. The pair then reportedly left the Washington DC mall, before loading it into their van and driving away.

It is unknown whether the thieves believed they could later break the machine open and obtain cash, from inside, or whether they believed they would be able to hack bitcoin accounts from the machine. More outlandish would be the thieves believing there were bitcoins inside the machine.

Is It Worth the Trouble?

While some bitcoin ATMs have the facility to deposit cash in exchange for digital tokens, they often don't contain a great deal of money. In January, a bitcoin ATM was stolen from a business centre in Zug, Switzerland. The thieves, however, were unable to reach the loot inside which totalled CHF3,000 ($3,051).

In March, a bitcoin ATM operated by BitKing in Memphis, Tennessee, was taken and then found the next morning in a nearby dog park. The good news, however, was that the operators withdrew all the cash the night before, so no funds were stolen.

So, while bitcoin ATMs might look an easy mark to thieves, from the evidence of those who've had them stolen it hardly seems like all the effort. Particularly if you get caught red-handed on security cameras and the police soon come knocking.