Gunman Demands $226 Million in Crypto During Deadly Apple Store Hostage Situation

A 27-year-old man in Amsterdam attempted to rob an Apple store by hiding a customer at gunpoint — but it wasn’t iPhones or cash that he was interested in.

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Instead, the man demanded the equivalent of $226 million in cryptocurrency and a safe exit from the store located in Leidseplein square.

“There is an ongoing hostage situation at the Apple Store at Leidseplein at the moment,” The Amsterdam Police said in a (translated) Tweet at the time. “To ensure the safety of all people involved we are not able to share information about the situation and/or actions taken by the police.”

The hostage was a 44-year-old man from Bulgaria who fled the scene late Tuesday night before the gunman chased after him.

The gunman, who police have not publicly indentified though the man does have a prior criminal record, was hit by a police car after running after the victim and fell to the ground where he was arrested.

The man died Wednesday of injuries sustained during the crash.

Amsterdam police reported that the man was also armed with inactive explosives at the time of the incident though there is currently no known motive for his actions. He was also armed with a pistol and an automatic rifle.

“We are investigating the possible motives of the hostage taker and the explosives he carried on his body,” Amsterdam police said in a statement, per Reuters.

Police reported that around 70 customers had safely escaped from the store, with four others being found hiding inside a closet during the escapade, all remaining unharmed.

Related: The 5 Greatest Lessons I Learned Working With Steve Jobs During the Apple Turnaround

Apple also released a statement on behalf of the company.

“We want to thank local law enforcement for their exceptional work and ongoing investigation,” a spokesperson for Apple told TechCrunch. “Our teams and customers took swift action and showed incredible strength and resolve today, and we are so thankful for the support and care they’ve shown each other under such challenging circumstances.”

As public interest in cryptocurrency and NFTs continues to grow and becomes more mainstream, attempted robberies and crimes using and demanding crypto are unfortunately becoming more mainstream as well.

Earlier this month, two men were arrested in Wisconsin for an in-home armed robbery where they demanded cryptocurrency of the victims, and last November, a Spanish tech entrepreneur was violently robbed in Madrid when robbers invaded his home and demanded he transfer his Bitcoin to them.