Reykjavíkers Warned Not to Advertise Vacations on Social Media

iceland real estate

Capital-area police warn residents in and around Reykjavík against advertising their ongoing vacations on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Per a post on their Facebook page, authorities reported that several local homes have been broken into after their owners posted vacation photos on social media. This comes in the wake of a recent spate of thefts and burglaries around the city.

Thieves have mainly been stealing bicycles, electric scooters, and vespas, which police urge people to store indoors. They also warn against leaving valuables visible in parked cars.

Residents are also advised to notify their neighbours of their travel plans as “neighbourhood vigilance can often make all the difference when it comes to preventing break ins or reporting them.”

Bike Theft on the Rise in Reykjavík

There has been a considerable increase in bike theft in capital-area, RÚV reports, and police warn that even well-locked bikes may not be safe from thieves. It’s believed that thieves are reselling some of the bikes locally and police ask that anyone who thinks they may have been sold or offered to buy a stolen bike report it to authorities.

Detective Chief Inspector Guðmundur Pétur Guðmundsson told interviewers on Rás 2 that there have been a total of 209 bicycle thefts recorded since the start of the year, as compared to 181 in the first six months of 2018. Police believe that most of the stolen bikes are being sent directly out of the country, but DCI Guðmundur did not want to confirm whether organized crime is suspected of playing a part in the recent spate of thefts.

“These are really brazen thieves,” read a post on the capital-area police Facebook page. “[I]t doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to them whether the bike is securely locked [or] stored. They clip the locks and even go into bike storage rooms to steal them.”

If you’ve recently had a bike stolen, you can check the police Pinterest page here and see if it’s among the ones they’ve recovered.

Police Track Snowy Footprints, Arrest Thief

Police officers in Akureyri were able to locate and arrest a thief by following his footprints through newly fallen snow, RÚV reports.

The perpetrator threatened two supermarket employees with a knife around 7 am on Sunday morning before making off with a relatively small amount of cash from the register. After arriving on the scene, police followed the man’s footprints to where he was hiding. The man was thought to be under the influence of both alcohol and drugs at the time of his arrest; he did not resist.

The caper was reported on the Akureyri police’s Facebook page, which also noted that all of the store employees had been offered trauma counseling as needed. Police were still considering whether or not the man would be kept in custody and interrogated him, although it was considered unlikely at the time of writing that he had any accomplices.

Thief Steals Children’s Coats

A thief snuck into Vesturbæjarskóli elementary school on Thursday morning and stole coats belonging to eleven students, RÚV reports. Police have been alerted, but so far, there are no leads on the perpetrator or the stolen winterwear.

The thief came in through an entrance that faces Framnesvegur. In an email to parents, school principal Margrét Einarsdóttir wrote that in light of the incident, that entrance would henceforth be locked after children arrive in the morning and that the school would also be reviewing its security.

Man in Wheelchair Attacked at Home

missing woman

A man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of taking part in an attack on a man in a wheelchair at the victim’s own home, RÚV reports.

Per Assistant Chief Constable Guðmundur Páll Jónsson, the attack took place on Thursday morning in an apartment building in downtown Reykjavík. Two men and a woman knocked on the victim’s back window and so the man opened his back door and went out onto the deck to see what they wanted. “As soon as he opened the door, two assailants came running in and turned over his wheelchair so that the man was left lying on the deck outside of his apartment,” reported Guðmundur Páll. The assailants then stole the victim’s computer and other valuables.

Although the victim, who is in his fifties, was obviously suffering from some shock after the attack, he was not seriously injured physically. Police are still looking for the other man and woman who participated in the attack.

Man Who Stole Sailboat ‘On a Whim’ Receives Suspended Sentence

A German man who stole a sailboat from the harbour in Ísafjörður in the Westfjords this fall has received a suspended sentence of three months in prison, RÚV reports. The man confessed to the theft and was cooperative during the resulting police investigation.

The man used a screwdriver to break into the Inook sailboat on the evening of Saturday, October 13th and then sailed it out of the harbour. By the time the theft was reported the next day, the man had sailed the boat from the Westfjords to Breiðafjörður, where the boat was spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter. The Coast Guard directed the man to sail to the harbour at Rif, a small fishing village on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, where he was arrested.

Vísir reports that the man told authorities that he’d stolen the boat on a “sudden whim” and had no explanation for his actions except that he’d been looking for a little adventure.

The man has been subject to a travel ban since he was arrested. In addition to his suspended prison sentence, he was also sentenced to pay just over one million krónur [$8,105; €7,132] in litigation costs.

Seven Charged for Bitcoin Computer Theft

Sindri Þór Stefánsson - bitcoin

Sindri Þór Stefansson and six others have been charged with the theft of 600 computers equipped for Bitcoin mining, Fréttablaðið reports. Sindri Þór made headlines internationally when he fled from prison earlier this year, where he was being held on suspicion of the robbery. Sindri was later arrested in Amsterdam and brought back to the country.

The charges were formally made several weeks ago but were not assigned to a judge until last week. At the time it was unclear how many individuals had been charged but the number is now confirmed at seven. Three of the individuals, including Sindri Þór, are subject to travel bans due to the case. Though Sindri Þór has been charged with theft, it remains unknown what role the other six defendants are believed to have had in the incident.

The computers are valued at hundreds of millions of ISK, or millions of US dollars, making the theft one of the largest in Iceland in recent years. Search for the stolen goods led all the way to China, but they have yet to be found.

Crime Line Tip Aids Recovery of Stolen Icelandic Statue in Louisiana

A life-size, 400-pound [181-kilo] statue by Icelandic artist Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir was reported stolen from the U.S. city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana this week, but happily, was recovered from a nearby parking lot a day later, The Advocate reports. The sculpture—worth $60,000 [ISK 6,540,000; €52,527]—was one of 22 aluminum and iron human figures that comprise Steinunn’s traveling installation “Borders,” and was discovered to be missing when workers began transporting the figures to their next destination, the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana.

According to The Advocate, “Renee Chatelain, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, said organizers were hoping the statue had been misplaced or relocated for routine levee maintenance,” but a fruitless, month-long search left no doubt that the sculpture had been stolen. The statue was bolted to a levee-side bench, which was then in turn bolted to a bike path. Chatelain noted that the thieves would have needed tools and a vehicle to remove it.

“The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge would like to thank the Baton Rouge community, all media outlets, Baton Rouge Police Department, and Crime Stoppers for their efforts in putting the word out that this iron sculpture is missing,” wrote the organization in a Facebook post on Thursday. “We have faith that as a community we can come together and locate this missing piece of art.” Remarkably, the public appeal yielded almost immediate results: the statue was found in a downtown parking lot not far from its original location, covered in dirt or spray paint but otherwise undamaged. An employee of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and two police officers hoisted it into the back of a truck; it will be soon be transported to Shreveport, LA along with the four remaining “Borders” statues still in Baton Rouge.

RÚV points out that this isn’t the first time that Steinunn’s traveling sculptures have been subjected to vandalism or theft. “Four years ago, a 13-year-old boy was charged with vandalizing the statues while they were on display in Grant Park, Chicago,” while another of her works, “…dedicated to British seamen killed off the Icelandic coast, was stolen while on display in Hull, UK.”

Steinunn describes “Borders” as a work which promotes unity. As she explained to The Advocate, the figures in the installation were “…modeled after her youngest son and their arrangement aimed to encourage interaction from the public to bridge the gap — or fill the space — between the paired statues, furthering the idea that people can look different but still have fundamental similarities.”