"They decide that they're going to go do some street robberies, emulating the popular fictional character Niko Bellic," says Nassau County (Long Island, USA) Detective Lieutenant Raymond Coté of six youths who apparently turned into "an angry mob" and went on a "crime spree" last week.
Dylan Laird (17),Stephen Attard (18), Samuel Philip (16), Brandon Cruz (15), Jaspreet Singh (17) and Gurnoor Singh (14) were arrested and charged with felony robbery - Jaspreet Singh faces charges of criminal possession of stolen property.
They had allegedly beaten the teeth out of one man, tried to jack a car, and taken to another car, it's female driver still inside, with a baseball bat before being arrested on Wednesday evening.
According to a report in News Day
, "The teens told detectives they were imitating the Grand Theft Auto video game series". The paper states that they were armed with, "a baseball bat, a crowbar and a broomstick."The Garden City Daily News
states that they, "walked to New Hyde Park Road in Garden City carrying bats, sticks and a crow bar".
The ever-reliable New York Post
also reports the 'spree' in its usual measured tones, "The game-crazed youth's real-life robbery romp featured such staples of the mega-popular game as a mugging, several break-ins and an attempted car-jacking."The Post
, however, does point out that, "Police would not say specifically how they knew that the teens crimes were motivated by Grand Theft Auto
, and not by some other motive. They said they discovered it during their investigation."
There is even more coverage, this time from WCBSTV's Lou Young
, who quotes a detective called 'Cotay' as stating, "They were proceeding south, gathering their weapons.
"That's when they decided they needed a vehicle, because they were getting tired of walking, so they were gonna carjack someone."
Really, what can we say? There is a chance, of course, that the confession of GTA
-inspiration came as an afterthought, coming as it did during the investigation. Even that, however, can't get passed the fact that the mainstream media has already picked up on the story and will run with it.