Thieves smash open bitcoin ATMs in Houston, Las Vegas, to steal cash, officials say

By Sophia Beausoleil - Reporter

HOUSTON - A vape shop in northwest Harris County had to shell out money after two suspected burglars targeted the store to steal money from their bitcoin machine.

WATCH: Bitcoin ATM burglaries caught on surveillance video

Phoenix Rising Vapor Lounge, located at 5020 FM 1960 West, has had the Bitcoin ATM for about a year.

“We had a bitcoin machine and at the end of last month, they basically broke into here; took sledgehammers out of the car and broke in through our door,” explained Alan Lankford, an employee. “The way it was set up there was a little box inside the machine itself and so they broke into the box.”

People can convert their dollars into cryptocurrency using a bitcoin ATM. Lankford said every day, two or three people would come into the store just to use it.

“They don’t come and buy anything, they just say hi to us turn around to the bitcoin machine, put money in it and leave,” Lankford said.

The ATMs hold a good amount of money, which is something the suspected thieves seemed to be aware of.

The company CoinFlip owns the bitcoin ATM and believes the suspected burglars targeted two ATMs in Las Vegas, along with three ATMs in Houston. The company said they were able to link the same rental car used in all of the cases.

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