Man who had ‘pivotal’ role in crypto heist sentenced

4 views 2:07 pm 0 Comments November 28, 2023
A 29-year-old man from Lanarkshire who had a ‘pivotal role’ in a crypto-currency robbery has avoided jail and been given a community sentence.

John-Ross Rennie was described as the ‘technical brains’ behind the crime, thought to be the first of its kind in Scotland.

He was cleared of assault and robbery at the High Court in Glasgow but was convicted of having stolen goods.

The raid, which he denied being part of, saw three men forcibly enter and threaten a man to transfer his Bitcoin into another account.

Rennie, a delivery driver from Cambuslang, told the court that a “scary” relative forced him to deposit the crypto into his account later.

During the raid, which occurred on 18 March 2020, a woman was left badly injured after one of the men repeatedly beat her with a personalized Toblerone bar.

On Tuesday, at the High Court in Edinburgh, Judge Lord Scott sentenced Rennie to a six-month-long community payback order.

He was also ordered to perform 150 hours of community service within three months of the sentencing date.

Lord Scott said: “It seems to me that your role was pivotal, even if the jury decided it did not extend to participation in the plan to carry out the robbery.

“Without the robbers’ reliance on what you knew, however, it is hard to see the robbery being able to proceed or at least as it did.”

Rennie’s defense solicitor advocate, Marco Guarino, said his client should not receive prison time as it was his first conviction, he cares for children, and he had a limited role in the robbery.

Lord Scott passed the sentence after prosecutor Stewart Ronnie told the court that the Crown Office had planned to launch a proceeds of crime action against Rennie.

The action will be called at the High Court in Lanark on 18 December.

The court heard that he had used about £35,000 of the original £109,601 from the robbery for himself.

At previous hearings, the court heard how the robbery occurred at the home of a man who cannot be named for legal reasons.

During the raid itself, the victim’s brother told police that a man with a machete awoke him.

Another man then forced his brother to transfer the cryptocurrency.

A third man then threw a woman who was also at the house into the bedroom after repeatedly striking her with a Toblerone bar.

After he made a “throat-slitting gesture” with the bloodied bar, the gang ran away in an Audi.

After the case, Detective Inspector Craig Potter of Police Scotland’s Cyber Investigations unit said: “This was the first robbery in Scotland to involve tracing stolen cryptocurrency.”