Two months ago, almost 1.7 million Intel flash memory chips were stolen from a Unigen facility in California. The total value was initially assessed at $26 million, but since then, has increased to almost $37 million.
Last week, California law enforcement officials arrested five people who allegedly took part in the heist. If convicted, the accused could face life sentences.
This may well be the biggest chip heist Bay Area’s history, the second in line being a robbery back in the mid 90s known as “Operation West Chips” – which incurred tens of millions of dollars in losses.
The Unigen operation was reportedly exeucted by 15 people dressed in black, touting handguns and automatic rifles.
Disturbingly, there are still 10 suspects on the loose.
However, in all likelihood, the chip thieves will try to sell the hardware on the gray market, which could help police track down their whereabouts. Of course, the five suspects already in the slammer could also rat on them at anytime.
It should be noted that law enforcement officials have already positively identified 2% of the stolen chips, which were recently sold to buyers located in China.
[Via The Register]