The two men, ages 31 and 38, were found to be operating two Bitcoin mining operations in the town of Kyustendil.
The cryptocurrency mining farms were stealing electricity to power their operations. Authorities say that the two men stole US$1.52 million [AUS$2.11 million] in power over the last six months.
Police say that one Bitcoin mining farm had been stealing power for six months while the second stole power for three months. Overall, the two Bitcoin mining farms had been in operation for eighteen months. The US$1.52 million in power stolen is, according to the authorities, equal to the total power bill for the entire town of Kyustendil for one month during the summer.
Filip Yordanov, an executive with the power company, said, “This is the largest theft we’ve found.”
The two crypto mining operators were arrested, detained for 24 hours, and then released until trial. The site of the Bitcoin mining operations has been sealed, and the equipment is under guard by the police. The two men are charged with an illegal connection to the electricity distribution network and theft of electricity.
There are quite a few Bitcoin mining operations around the world that seek to maximize revenue by stealing power. Just a few days ago, authorities in Malaysia arrested five people for stealing electricity from the state-owned power company, Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB).
Four shophouses in three cities were found to have crypto mining operations stealing power. The power company said that the average monthly electric bill for each place was US$191 [AUS$265] to US$239 [AUS$332], but it was found that the criminals were stealing US$59,000 [AUS$82,000] per month.
The Electrical Inspectorate Unit (or EIU) of the Sarawak Ministry of Utilities says it has investigated 50 cases of Bitcoin mining operators stealing power.
In this particular case, the EIU says, “At all premises, it was found that unsafe direct tapping cables from the main incoming supply were hidden in the gypsum ceiling that were connected straight to the electrical appliances, bypassing the meter and avoiding actual electricity consumption measurements.”
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