Bulgarian authorities arrested two men for illegally diverting more than US$1.5 million in electrical power to operate two crypto-currency mining farms.
According to an August 14 news release from Bulgaria Today, two men were arrested in connection with the theft of US$1.5 million in electricity used to mine Bitcoin (BTC) in the small town of Kyustendil.
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Representatives of the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior (ODMVR) and CEZ Electro Bulgaria spoke at a press conference, stating that the two Bulgarian citizens of Sofia, aged 31 and 38, were caught channelling power to feed their two illegal mining farms for a period of 3-6 months. However, evidence suggests that the mining team had been there for over a year.
CEZ’s deputy director, Philip Yordanov, said that this was the „biggest theft“ of electricity that the utility had discovered. The amount stolen was enough to provide electricity to the neighbouring municipality for about a month.
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The two men were detained by the police for 24 hours before being released pending trial.
This is not unique to Europe
Unscrupulous crypto miners in many countries are trying to divert power from their respective power grids as they become more aware of the profitability of tokens.
One of the largest robberies took place in China in July 2019, when 22 suspects were arrested after apparently being involved in an illegal crypto-mining farm that used US$3 million in stolen electricity. Police confiscated 4,000 pieces of mining equipment from nine different factories.
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The Russian authorities have also tried to crack down on Immediate Edge miners who steal energy. In June, police arrested a 30-year-old miner on charges of stealing nearly US$500,000 worth of electricity from the state power grid. Another suspect and his nine alleged accomplices were arrested in March in a similar incident involving the theft of US$200,000 in electricity monthly to mine cryptosystems.