According to the Sun Sentinel, at midnight, in the parking lot of a West Palm Beach shopping center, 32-year-old Steve Manos thought making a USD to bitcoin exchange would go smoothly. Instead of getting his $28,000 converted to 42 bitcoins, Manos ended up getting robbed at knife-point.
In a statement given to the police, Manos met with two men to exchange USD for bitcoin; he had done business with both of them several times before.
The business transaction took place outside a restaurant in West Palm Beach. One man got into the passenger seat of Manos’s car with the laptop that would be used to transfer the bitcoins and the other man got in the back seat behind Manos. 28 gift bags of cash, $1,000 in each bag, were transferred from Manos to the man in the front seat. The man in the front seat had no intention of using the laptop to finalize the transaction and instead pulled a knife on Manos. A struggle ensued when Manos attempted to reach for the handgun he had hidden in the passenger door but the man in the back seat fought to prevent the gun from being drawn.
Manos, not wanting to die over his money, told the men to leave and take the money. After the men left the car, Manos attempted a brief pursuit but the thieves were able to get into an Acura and promptly leave the scene of the crime.
The police were called and Manos provided the deputies with a phone number he had used to contact the men. The number was able to be traced back to 34-year-old Andre Allen of West Boynton. According to the police report, Manos picked Allen out of a photo lineup and Allen was arrested the next day. He is facing armed robbery, burglary, and battery charges while being held at Palm Beach County Jail on a $31,000 bond.
This isn’t the first of bitcoin related incident that led to real world attacks. In 2014, a bitcoin mine in Tampa was robbed. In the market value of bitcoin at the time, $35,000 worth of bitcoin was stolen along with over $150,000 worth of bitcoin mining equipment. Florida isn’t the only location these thefts are happening; in an event that has resemblance to the Florida knife-point robbery, a New York man was robbed at gunpoint of more than $1,000 in bitcoin.
Andre Allen’s accomplice is still at large, and Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was not available for comment on the situation.