Iceland’s prison system has been internationally praised for looking after the mental health of its prisoners. The system is more focused on rehabilitation than punishment, and some of the lower-security units resemble homes more than cell blocks.
However, it seems that one of these lower-security units may have been a little too low-security for one Sindri Thor Stefansson, who (with his accomplices) has been accused of carrying out a $2 million heist of Bitcoin mining equipment.
Stefansson, who has been in custody since February 2, 2018, escaped prison through a window at around 1:00 o’clock in the morning on Wednesday. From there, he managed to get to the airport, where he used a plane ticket under another name to board a flight to Sweden.
Ironically, Stefansson’s journey over the Atlantic was accompanied by Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Icelandic prime minister, who also happened to be on the plane. She was flying to a summit along with five other Nordic prime ministers to meet with Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India.
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Authorities did not notice that Stefansson was gone until after the plane had taken off, according to a report by the LA Times.
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Stefansson’s escape was highly unusual for Iceland, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. “Prison breaks in Iceland usually mean someone just fled to get drunk,” said Helgi Gunnlaugsson, a sociology professor at the University of Iceland. “The underworlds are tiny, and it is extremely difficult to hide, let alone flee the country.”
Iceland has been shocked by the sudden rash of Bitcoin mining equipment-related burglaries. A total of 22 people have been arrested in connection with the crimes, but exactly who is behind the string of robberies has not yet quite been solved. Stefansson has been accused of masterminding the operation.
With its cool climate and cheap electricity, Iceland has become a global hotspot for Bitcoin mining. In fact, the practice has become so popular on the Island country that government officials are concerned that there soon won’t be enough electricity to fulfill basic needs.