Published September 18, 2013
The game is over for three New York men who reportedly posed as cops to cut hundreds of people in a midnight line to buy “Grand Theft Auto V.”
The Staten Island Advance reports that the three men — one an auxiliary NYPD officer, another the son of a retired cop — skipped the long line at the Staten Island Mall late Tuesday to buy the latest installment in the top-selling video game that allows players to play three hardened criminals in a fictional California town.
Police identified the suspects as Frank Santanastaso, 19; Matthew Kirsheh, 20; and Kirolos Abdel Sayed, 19, all of New York City’s Staten Island borough.
According to court documents and law enforcement sources, Santanastaso had his father's NYPD shield tattooed on his arm, Kirsheh was carrying a fake NYPD shield in his wallet and Abdel Sayed had his auxiliary badge and ID.
The trio allegedly drove to the mall in a car that had been purchased at a police auction and were initially mistaken for police, with a mall guard even offering the suspects coffee, a source told the newspaper.
"They sort of rode the ruse," the source said. "They didn't correct the record. They sort of went along with it."
The ruse was up, however, when the suspects left the mall, pulling a U-turn in front of a police officer in an unmarked car. The suspects were later pulled over in front of Kirsheh’s residence.
Each man faces up to a year in jail if convicted on a single count of second-degree criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor, according to Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan.