Andre Allen of West Boynton, Florida was arrested on Tuesday for his involvement in the theft of $28,000 that was to be exchanged for Bitcoin, a digital currency commonly used for online transactions. Allen, 34, faces charges for burglary, armed robbery, and battery. He is being held in Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of a $31,000 bond. The press did not specify an attorney for Allen.
According to the arrest report, the alleged robbery took place on Monday on the parking lot of a restaurant on 2024 Military Trail. Steve Manos, the victim of the robbery, met with two men who he has purportedly done business with on several occasions. On this occasion, Manos, 32, wanted to exchange $28,000 in cash for Bitcoin.
Manos told authorities that one of the men sat in the back passenger seat directly behind him, and the second man sat next to him on the front passenger seat. Manos had the agreed amount ready in a gift bag and the man on the front passenger seat took out a laptop to complete the exchange, but according to Manos, the man also pulled out a knife which he pressed to Manos’ chest.
Fearing for his safety, Manos told the men to take the money and leave, but a struggle reportedly ensued when the man in the backseat attempted to grab Manos’ firearm out of the driver’s door pocket. The two men eventually exited the vehicle with the money. Manos reportedly tried to chase them, but he couldn’t keep up.
Manos reported the incident to authorities and gave them the phone number he allegedly used to contact one of the suspects in previous business dealings. The police used the number to link Allen to the incident, and Manos was reportedly able to pick him out of a photo lineup. Allen was arrested the next day.
Bitcoin was in the spotlight in Florida again last week in an unrelated case after Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled that the controversial digital currency is not a real money. The judge was presiding over a money laundering case involving Michell Espinoza, a website designer from Miami-Dade, who was charged with illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 worth of Bitcoin.
Judge Pooler threw out the felony charges stating that the currency is not backed by any government or bank, and in her opinion, a currency that “cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars” simply can’t have “tangible wealth.”