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A 28-year-old Lanarkshire man is facing jail after a large sum of cryptocurrency was stolen during a violent robbery. John Ross-D’Alfonso was found guilty of having the digital cash in his account following the late-night raid at a house in Blantyre on March 18, 2020. The attack saw a woman badly injured after being struck with a personalised Toblerone chocolate bar. D’Alfonso, also known as John-Ross Rennie by police, had been described as the “technical” brains behind the crime – thought to be the first robbery in Scotland involving stolen cryptocurrency. The 28-year-old had denied being part of the raid itself, insisting a “scary” relative had forced him to put the money into his account. He was cleared of assault and robbery, but instead found guilty of a charge of reset following the trial at the High Court in Glasgow. The incident occurred at the home of a man said to be involved in Bitcoin. His brother and a woman were also there that evening. The sibling gave evidence during the trial and mostly claimed he could not remember much about the robbery. But, he had told police how he had been awoken that night by his dog barking and then spotting a dark figure in his doorway. This person yelled: “Do not phone the f***ing police.” The robber was said to have had a machete in his hand. The witness told officers: “I did not say anything to the guy as I was still confused.” He was soon aware of another of the robbers with his brother. One shouted at him: “Transfer the f***ing money.” The witness further told police: “I could hear (my brother) tell the guys that he was sending the money.” A third raider – described as “foreign” – then “threw” the woman into the bedroom. The brother: “He was holding a chocolate Toblerone in his right hand.” It was said to have the woman’s blood on it – prosecutors alleged she had been repeatedly struck on the head with the sweet. The raider then used the bar to make a “throat slitting gesture”. The gang eventually fled in an expensive Audi car, which had been parked at the house. D’Alfonso, of Cambuslang, was arrested months later. He insisted he had no knowledge of the robbery and only learned about it afterwards. The delivery driver said he had been contacted by a “violent” relative who stated he was “due to come into possession of cryptocurrency” and could he “help” him. D’Alfonso claimed this individual was not someone “you said no to”. Jurors were told there was “no dispute” the digital cash had been stolen and that it ended up in D’Alfonso’s account and transferred elsewhere. Due to the fluctuating rates of cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin in 2020 had a value of anything between around £100,000 and an estimated £1.2 million although police stated the Bitcoin was valued at around $200,000. Prosecutors said D’Alfonso had not been at the robbery that night, but had instead given “technical expertise” to help steal the money. But, in his closing speech, his lawyer Marco Guarino told jurors: “It is agreed Bitcoin was stolen. “The Crown suggest that he was part of the plan and that you find him guilty of robbery. “What I suggest the evidence points to is that he was a re-setter. That is what I ask you to find him guilty of.” Lord Scott deferred sentencing for reports. Detective Inspector Craig Potter, of Police Scotland’s Cyber Investigations unit, said: “This was complex investigation and the first robbery in Scotland to involve tracing the movements of stolen cryptocurrency. “Specialist cybercrime officers were able to follow the movement of funds to show he had been responsible for the bitcoin wallet which received the stolen funds. “This is a complex and constantly evolving technology. This conviction demonstrates Police Scotland capability and commitment to tackling criminality involving the digital space and bringing criminals operating in this world to justice.” *Don’t miss the latest headlines from around Lanarkshire. Sign up to our newsletters here. And did you know Lanarkshire Live had its own app? Download yours for free here.

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