Teens bring Grand Theft Auto to life on crime rampage


June 28, 2008

* Grand Theft Auto IV contains break-ins, muggings
* Teen gangs decide to re-enact scenes in real life
* Police say they couldn't separate fact from fiction

THE world's top-selling video game has been blamed for a two-hour crime rampage by a gang of six teens in New York.

The gang decided to take Grand Theft Auto IV from the television screen to the streets of Long Island.

In the video game, which has sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide, players shoot police, sell drugs and car-jack vehicles.

The game, released in Australia last month, is the No 1-selling game on the Xbox 360 console and is rated MA15+ in Australia,

In the real-life re-enactment of the game, the crazed youths' rampage involved mugging, several break-ins and an attempted car-jacking in Garden City.

"They decided they were going to go out to commit robberies and emulate the character Nico Belic in the particularly violent video game Grand Theft Auto," said Nassau County Police detective-lieutenant Raymond Cote.

"These teens have difficulty separating fact from fiction, fantasy from reality. It was quite alarming."

Police said that the rampage began at 11.30pm on Tuesday when teenagers Brandon Cruz, 15, Gurnoor Singh, 14, Samuel Philip, 16, and Jaspreet Singh, 17, were sitting in Memorial Park in New Hyde Park looking for something to do.