Cryptocurrency: SA Police mistake crypto mining set-up for drug house
A man is demanding answers and considering legal action after his northern suburbs home was damaged during a police raid — but all officers found was cryptocurrency mining equipment.
Acting on information from the public, police forced their way into a Smithfield Plains home to search for a possible grow room on Monday.
Instead, officers stumbled across an elaborate cryptocurrency mining computer set-up that requires a ventilation system.
Cryptocurrency is digital currency that can be traded like conventional money.
In cryptomining, specialised computers search for and authorise crypto currency transactions by breaking complex mathematical equations to update what’s known as the blockchain, earning the miner small amounts of cryptocurrency.
SA police mistake crypto currency mining set up for grow house
Owner Rob Butvila claims he arrived home to find the “property unlocked” with “gates, doors and fence panels removed and broken”.
Mr Butvila filmed his reaction as he entered the house. Uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, the video has been watched and shared thousands of times.
In a lengthy post on YouTube, Mr Butvila claimed police refused to discuss the damage bill.
“SAPOL used brutal and destructive force, kicking in doors … to find cryptocurrency mining computers where they expected to find a marijuana grow room,” he wrote.
“They hung up when questioned about who pays the damages.
“No apology, not even so much as a phone call.”
Mr Butvila claims he spoke to one officer who admitted the home was damaged but was “just as secure as when he found it”.
Mr Butvila told The Advertiser police had become suspicious when they saw solar panels, security cameras and a ventilation fan in the window of the house.
But he said the house, which he is in the process of renovating, looks the same as many other in the neighbourhood.
“The fan was to cool the cryptocurrency computer and the person coming in at night was me because I was doing the place up,” he said.
“To make things worse they left the place wide open and a hard drive is now missing and the security camera cable has been cut.
“It would be at least $1000 damage.”
An SA Police spokeswoman said no offences were detected during the search.
“Information was left for the owner to contact police,” the spokeswoman said.
“For operational reasons, police do not give prior notice of the intention to execute search warrants. Police always try to minimise any damage caused during operations.”
Mr Butvila said he would be submitting quotes to the police for the damage and was considering legal action.