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Iceland 'bitcoin heist' suspect flees on plane... with prime minister

It's a small country after all. Iceland issues international arrest warrant for the suspected mastermind of the "Big Bitcoin Heist."


We were already captivated by the story of the suspected bitcoin heist mastermind who reportedly broke out of an Icelandic prison Tuesday and boarded a flight to Sweden.

But the detail about Iceland's prime minister also having a seat on his flight just upped our intrigue. Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir was simply on her way to meet with India's prime minister, alongside four other Nordic prime ministers.

Police in Iceland said they believe Sindri Thor Stefansson, the suspect behind the theft of about 600 computers used to mine bitcoins and other virtual currencies, fled a low-security prison through a window and boarded the flight at Iceland's international airport in Keflavik, according to the Associated Press. The prison isn't fenced, and inmates have telephone and internet access.

No arrest has been made in Sweden, but Icelandic police have briefed Swedish police on the situation and issued an international arrest warrant, the AP said.

Stefansson probably didn't have to show a passport at the airport since he traveled within Europe's passport-free travel zone, Icelandic officials told the AP. The plane ticket he used was under someone else's name.

Stefansson was one of 11 people arrested for allegedly stealing the powerful computers in a series of four burglaries in December and January. It's been dubbed the "Big Bitcoin Heist."

Olafur Helgi Kjartansson, a local police commissioner, told the AP last month, "This is a grand theft on a scale unseen before."

The still-missing equipment is reportedly worth about $2 million.

Stefansson had been in custody since February but was moved to the open prison 10 days ago, police told the AP.