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London thieves nab rare crypto machine

Sympathetic Web heads hope to thwart fences

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Crypto buffs will be discouraged to learn that a rare German Enigma machine from World War II was stolen from a display case at Bletchley Park Trust, near London on 1 April. The stolen machine is a rare model known as Abwehr, thought to be one of only two surviving. "We hope that if the Internet community gets behind it, it will be impossible to sell the machine on the public market," Trust Director Christine Large said. Because the machine was stolen on April Fool's day, Trust officials are clinging to the hope that the theft was merely a prank. A group of cryptologists who specialize in the Enigma machines known as the Crypto Simulation Group is trying to put the word out over the Web, in hopes of making it harder for thieves to fence the rare artifact. The stolen machine is one of the Enigmas used by the German military intelligence service. A gorgeous piece of overbuilt retro-analogue tech (check out the pics on the CSG site), it bears the serial number G-312. It is also called the counter machine or Zahlwerk-Enigma, because it's equipped with a letter counter, the group notes. Anyone with information is urged to contact Christine Large via e-mail. Rewards totalling nearly US $10,000 are currently on the table. ®

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