Man Who Played “Pivotal” Role in Crypto Heist Sentenced


John-Ross Rennie, a 29-year-old man from Lanarkshire, has been given a community sentence for his ‘pivotal role’ in a crypto-currency robbery.

The jury at Glasgow High Court cleared Rennie of assault and robbery, but found him guilty of being in possession of stolen goods.

The raid occurred on 18 March 2020, when three men entered a home and threatened a man to transfer his Bitcoin to another account. Rennie, a delivery driver from Cambuslang, claimed he was forced by a relative to later deposit the crypto into his account.

The court heard that a woman was injured after one of the men repeatedly hit her with a personalised Toblerone bar.

At the Edinburgh High Court, Judge Lord Scott sentenced Rennie to a six-month community payback order and 150 hours of community service. Lord Scott noted that Rennie’s role in the crime was ‘pivotal’, even if the jury decided he did not participate in the robbery.

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

The Crown Office planned to launch a proceeds of crime action against Rennie, which will be heard at the High Court in Lanark on 18 December. The court heard he used about £35,000 from the original £109,601 to benefit himself.

The raid was described as the first of its kind in Scotland. During the raid, the victim’s brother was awoken by a man with a machete, and another man forced the victim to transfer the cryptocurrency. A third man then threw a woman into the bedroom after making a ‘throat-slitting gesture’ with a bloodied bar, before they ran away in an Audi.

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

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