GARDEN CITY, Long Island – A gang of teens in love with the blood-drenched digital killfest "Grand Theft Auto IV" - in which players slaughter hundreds during endless crime sprees - copied the video game's violent hero with a two-hour campaign of real-life robbery and brutality on Long Island, cops said Thursday.
The wild rampage featured such staples of the mega-popular game as a mugging, several break-ins and attempted carjackings at an intersection in tony Garden City, police said. They even allegedly knocked one man's teeth out.
"They decided they were going to go out to commit robberies and emulate the [lead] character Nico Belic in the particularly violent video game 'Grand Theft Auto,' " said Nassau County Police Detective Lt. Raymond Cote. "These teens have difficulty separating fact from fiction, fantasy from reality . . . It was quite alarming."
The series of attacks started at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, allegedly carried out by a gang of four teens led by 15-year-old Brandon Cruz. The youths had been sitting in Memorial Park in New Hyde Park, looking for something to do, when they allegedly decided to live out the game.
In "Grand Theft Auto IV," players assume the role of Belic, a criminal who murders and robs to rise to the top of the underworld in "Liberty City," which closely resembles New York City.