Suspect charged in bitcoin heist, police hunt 2 others

Ottawa police have arrested one suspect and are looking for two others after employees at a bitcoin financial institution were held up at gunpoint Tuesday.

3 armed men bound employees at Bitcoin office before fleeing empty-handed, Ottawa police say

Heavily armed officers with dogs searched a wooded ravine near the scene of a robbery Tuesday morning. One of the three suspects was arrested without incident, but the other two remain at large, police say. (Jenna McMillan)

Ottawa police have arrested one suspect and are looking for two others after employees at a bitcoin financial institution were held up at gunpoint Tuesday.

The attempted robbery happened on Concourse Gate off Colonnade Road just before 11 a.m., police said in a media release issued Wednesday.

Three suspects entered the business armed with handguns, gained control over four employees and bound them, police said. One of the employees was struck on the head with a gun.

A fifth employee, who remained unseen in an office, contacted police, and the suspects fled empty-handed.

Video shot from the passenger seat of a passing vehicle shows the manhunt in Nepean:

The employee who was struck in the head was taken to hospital for treatment.

Arriving officers saw one of the suspects run into a ravine north of Colonnade Road, and "extensive resources" were deployed to find him, including tactical and K-9 unit officers. The suspect was arrested later Wednesday "without incident," police said.

The arrested man, a 19-year-old from Ottawa, was charged with:

  • Five counts of robbery with a firearm.
  • Five counts of pointing a firearm.
  • Five counts of forcible confinement.
  • One count of wearing a disguise.
  • One count of carrying a concealed weapon.
  • One count of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. 
  • One count of possessing a firearm while prohibited.
  • One count of possessing a loaded, regulated firearm.

Workers, customers shaken

The robbery had customers and employees of the industrial park area on edge.

"I probably won't be able to actually work overnight," said Dawen Zhang, who works at a startup company near Concourse Gate.

There was still a good deal of police activity at the scene Wednesday afternoon, more than 24 hours after the attempted robbery.

Paul Holmes, a frequent customer of another business in the same building as the bitcoin operation, said he was shocked the incident happened in broad daylight.

"It just speaks to how bold the suspects are," he said.

Police are searching for the other two suspects, and are hoping to speak to a person of interest who was inside the business when the three suspects arrived.

Investigators are expected to return to the scene Wednesday to search for additional evidence.

Anyone with information is asked to call the robbery unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5116. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).