Grand Theft Auto V Inspires Cop Impersonators, NYPD Says
Three men who allegedly played out their video game fantasy by impersonating cops to get the latest Grand Theft Auto V were quickly busted by real cops for running red lights - true GTA style.
Matthew Kirshen, 20, Frank Santanastoso, 19, and Kirolos Abdel Sayed, 19, used "an exact replica of an unmarked police vehicle and badges" to present themselves as patrolling officers on Tuesday, said New York Police Department Sgt. Lee Jones. Staten Island Mall security granted the trio access to the closed mall, and the defendants cut in front of approximately 500 people waiting in line at GameStop, Jones said.
After purchasing Grand Theft Auto V - a video game set in a fictional city based on Los Angeles - the trio left in their 2005 Ford Crown Victoria, which is a vehicle frequently used by the NYPD. The car had operational police lights and siren, Jones said.
"There are no other charges of being in possession of illegal items, so they probably possessed them (lights and siren) legally," Jones said. "How they used them is a different thing."
At 12:29 a.m., they drew the attention from real police by running several red lights, according to a police report. The three men were arrested and charged with criminal impersonation of a police officer of the first and second degree.
Jones said police are investigating whether Sayed was an auxiliary volunteer with the 122nd precinct.
"The defendants were arraigned yesterday and released on their own recognizance," said Douglas C. Auer, spokesman the Richmond County District Attorney said. He said they all pleaded not guilty.