The long-awaited GTA V launch day has come and gone, and as expected, the event didn’t pass by entirely without incident. The latest entry in the sprawling criminal saga, Grand Theft Auto 5 has been on the receiving end of plenty of rave reviews since it launched on September 17, 2013. Following the mis-adventures of Michael, Franklin & Trevor, the game had players queuing around the block in most major cities, forsaking both sleep and sick days to get their hands on this generation’s sandbox swansong.
Hoping to echo the spirit of the ambitious heist title, three bumbling chums from New York have been arrested following their attempts to purchase midnight copies of the game and bypass the lines. Utilizing some tenuous-at-best connections to the New York Police Department, the uniform-wearing trio smooth talked their way to the front of the line at one Gamestop branch in NY, before exiting the scene in an unmarked squad car.
The vehicle — purchased at a police auction and outfitted with police lights and sirens — pulled an illegal U-turn in front of a real undercover officer, who followed the jubilant crooks back to their ‘hideout’ homesteads and arrested them. If convicted, all three men, including their apparent ringleader and genuine auxiliary officer Abdel Sayed, face counts of 2nd-degree criminal impersonation, a charge that carries up to a year of jail-time.
The role-playing prank is far from the worst launch line incident to have overtaken the release of GTA 5. Britain’s woefully witless thugs (remember 2011’s rioters?) are back in the news again, after a group of thieves brutally assaulted a 23 year-old London man returning home with a copy of the game.
After spotting the gamer — currently unnamed — departing from an ASDA-brand supermarket in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the group of teenaged assailants gave chase after their fleeing victim and stabbed him twice in the back. A brick was also levelled at the man’s head, knocking him to the ground, whereupon his attackers stole both the game and the victim’s cell phone — effectively preventing him from calling for help.
Fortunately, it appears the man was later able to raise the alarm, before being transported to a local hospital for treatment. Police say the victim is in a stable condition. For those unfamiliar with Britain’s criminal class (sadly it’s not all lovable chimney sweeps, tea & crumpets), this kind of behavior may seem shocking, but truth be told, the behavior is no less prevalent here than it is in the States.
With tabloid newspapers (and of course, Fox News) already dead set against video games, the news will no doubt raise concern amongst parents groups. It’s likely this latest attack will spark furious debates as to the nature of video games, so prepare for the usual influx of ‘kill-simulator,’ and ‘GTA made me do it’ remarks. Was this line-cutting heist more Michael De Santa, or bumbling ganglander Lamar? Should the trio face tough charges or a slap on the wrist? How will the mainstream media respond to these latest controversies? Have your say in the comments below.
Grand Theft Auto V is out now for PS3 and Xbox 360. Grand Theft Auto Online debuts October 1st 2013.