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Elderly Durham couple zip-tied, robbed of cryptocurrency at gunpoint, documents say

More details have been released about an elderly Durham couple who was held hostage and robbed of cryptocurrency in April.

According to criminal complaints unsealed July 27 and obtained by The News & Observer, Jarod Gabriel Seemungal, 22, and Remy Ra St. Felix, 23, have been charged with conspiracy and kidnapping for the robbery in which $150,000 worth of cryptocurrency was forcibly transferred to an unknown account. A criminal complaint for a third man allegedly involved, Elmer Castro, was not listed.

What the documents say

The complaints revealed that the men traveled from Florida to North Carolina for the robbery. Arrest warrants were issued for Seemungal and St. Felix.

On the morning of April 12, Castro and St. Felix, who were dressed as utility workers, approached a residence on Wells Street in Durham that was occupied by a married couple, who were both 76. Castro and St. Felix, who were armed with handguns forced their way into the house, and zip-tied the couples’ hands. The wife was dragged into a bathroom while the husband was forced upstairs to a home office.

Durham couple held hostage, robbed in home invasion in Forest Hills neighborhood

Seemungal was not present at the robbery, but was on the phone with St. Felix. Seemungal was described as “tech-savvy” by the husband, and apparently knew details about the account without being told. St. Felix forced the husband to install a remote desktop software on his computer, and then forced him to log in to his Coinbase account by threatening to “cut off Husband’s toes and genitalia, to shoot him, and to rape his wife” if he didn’t comply.

Over the next 45 minutes, $156,853 worth of cryptocurrency was transferred out of the account in three transactions. A fourth transaction was “flagged and denied by Coinbase.”

What happened to the couple

The men then destroyed the iMac and the couple’s phones, leaving them both in the bathroom. Eventually, the couple made contact with their neighbors and were hospitalized with minor injuries. Durham police later determined through reviewing surveillance video of a nearby home that the same car used during the robbery was possibly used to survey the couple’s home each of the prior three days.

The complaints further read that Coinbase accounts were created under Castro and St. Felix’s names that same day, and funds worth approximately $22,267 were received by both accounts.

Seemungal and St. Felix face a maximum of life in prison if convicted.

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