Bitcoin cases cracked, suspects in custody

NELSPRUIT � Police in Mpumalanga have managed to crack the complex Bitcoin cases that took place in Witbank and Middelburg some time last year, in separate incidents, wherein two children were allegedly kidnapped and bitcoins demanded as ransom. These cases were first of their kind in Mpumalanga and a task team comprising of different units within the SAPS was immediately established by police management to investigate this matter.

The dedicated formations left no stone unturned in their investigation, knitting all clues and eventually their efforts yielded positive results as the suspects, Sithabiso Mchunu aged 31, and Ndumiso Sithole aged 30, were arrested thereafter at different locations. Sithole was nabbed last year November at Germiston in Gauteng and Mchunu at Ladysmith, Kwazulu Natal on 30 December 2018 after the team received information about their whereabouts.

In the first incident, on 20 May 2018, the suspects kidnapped 13-year-old Katlego Marite while he was playing outside his parents' house in Tasbet Park, Witbank. They then left a ransom note, demanding Bitcoins in exchange for his freedom. Few days later, Katlego was reunited with his family unharmed.

A few months later, on 21 August 2018, the suspects attempted to kidnap a 13-year-old girl in Aerorand, Middelburg. They dragged her into their vehicle, a VW Polo but the girl shouted for help and was heard by a group of people working nearby, who swiftly came to her aid and helped her escape. The suspects fled the scene thereafter leaving their vehicle abandoned with their belongings inside. During investigation it was established that they (suspects) had the same intentions as in the first case.

The suspects appeared at the Middelburg Magistrate's Court yesterday 15 January 2019 and were granted R1 000 bail each.

The Mpumalanga Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Zuma applauded the investigating team for their hard work in ensuring that the case is solved and arrests made.

Source: South African Police Service

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