Man steals cell phone, unloads crypto, accidentally sends email to cops

It’s always a good idea to double-check the recipient of an email before hitting the Send button. Sending an email to the wrong person can often result in embarrassing situations and, in at least one instance, jail time. After stealing a cell phone and removing the cryptocurrency held in the phone’s wallet, a thief apparently felt a little remorse and tried to send an apology email to the phone’s owner. However, he somehow managed to send it to the police, instead.

29-year old Darren Carter thought he hit the jackpot when he stole a cell phone from a traveler at an airport in California several months ago. The New Jersey resident discovered the crypto wallets and moved over $15,000 worth of digital currency to fiat. The owner of the phone, who is from Connecticut, had reported the theft, leading to a months-long investigation and, at some point during that time, Carter penned his well-intended apology. However, it ended up in the hands of detectives instead of the victim, allowing police to track him down.

The errant email helped produce evidence that, with the assistance of a couple of search warrants, was able to trace the thief. It wasn’t difficult to find him, either, once his identity had been uncovered. Carter was already locked up in a Salem County, New Jersey jail for another crime. Detectives were positively able to follow the criminal’s activity from the time he removed the funds from the victim’s Coinbase account through the transfer to fiat and the subsequent deposit in a PayPal account.

Connecticut police took a little road trip to Salem County and arrested Carter for the theft, as well as for identity theft. They escorted him back to Connecticut as he went from one prison cell to another, and locked him away after the brief taste of fresh air thanks to his travels. He’s being held and most likely won’t be tasting freedom again anytime soon, especially since he couldn’t cover the $150,000 bail.

Many people have asserted that crypto is anonymous and cannot be traced. However, in many ways, it is easier to follow the trail of digital currency exchanges than it is to track those of fiat. As for the victim of Carter’s sticky-fingered endeavor, he recovered his crypto and will most likely consider ways to better secure his assets.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.