With their ever-increasing price and rarity, graphics cards are turning into the hardware equivalent of gold. Some thieves in China decided to take advantage of the current market by stealing a load of cards from an unsuspecting internet café, making off with almost $8,000 worth of property.
Chinese news outlet 浙样红TV (via Tom’s Hardware) reports that six unspecified high-end graphics cards were taken in the heist. The café’s owner told police each one is worth around 7,000 yuan ($1,094), though he puts the total loss at 50,000 ($7,812)—likely due to the motherboards being stolen as well, judging by the site’s video.
The robbery was no simple middle-of-the-night smash and grab. One of the criminals first contacted the café’s owner about renting the premises, for which he used a fake ID. The perpetrator was also wearing a facemask because of the pandemic, meaning the owner couldn’t verify it was the same person on the ID card—and yes, asking him to remove the mask would likely have been prudent.
No wonder people steal them
Claiming a friend was coming for a gaming session, the thief asked the owner for a garbage bag so he’d leave the room, at which point the cards and motherboards were snatched. Disconnecting and removing seven mobos with the GPUs attached in the time it takes to collect a bag is pretty impressive, to be honest.
The chip shortage, cryptominers, and scalpers have led the market to a situation even worse than when Bitcoin saw its first surge at the end of 2017. BTC hit a then-record $20,000, causing massive demand from miners that resulted in graphics card shortages and hugely inflated prices, something we’re all familiar with. The current issues have resulted in chaotic scenes like these at retail outlets when restocks arrive. Consumers are hoping the crisis will end soon, but normality might not return until 2023.