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09-18-13, 04:51 PM #1
Men impersonate police to cut in front of line to buy "Grand Theft Auto V" video gameA trio of over-eager video gamers-- one an auxiliary NYPD officer, another the son of a retired officer -- posed as cops to cut hundreds of people on a midnight line to buy the "Grand Theft Auto V" video game in the Staten Island Mall Tuesday, authorities allege.They even drove off in a car with a lights-and-sirens package installed, according to police.The video game allows players to take on the roles of three hardened criminals in the fictional California city of Los Santos.But instead of playing as three criminals, they ended up charged as three criminals.Police identified the suspects as Frank Santanastaso, 19, of Jardine Avenue in Bulls Head, Matthew Kirsheh, 20, of Furness Place in New Springville, and Kirolos Abdel Sayed, 19, of the 100 block of Kelly Boulevard in New Springville.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, according to court papers and law enforcement sources.The group rode up to the mall before midnight in a car that had been purchased at a police auction, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the case, and after dropping two friends at the back of the long line gathered outside the mall, they pulled around to the front. Authorities did not provide the make of the car Tuesday, though court papers refer to it as "an exact replica of an unmarked police vehicle."At first, they were simply mistaken for police, the source said -- a mall guard offered them coffee, and a GameStop manager thanked them for providing additional security."They sort of rode the ruse," the source said. "They didn't correct the record. They sort of went along with it."One of them flashed a badge to get inside the mall building, and Abdel Sayed asked a GameStop manager if he could buy the game. When the manager asked who he was, he said "I'm with the NYPD," the source said. The manager saw the auxiliary badge underneath his shirt and OKed the purchase, selling the game to Abdel Sayed and Santanastaso, the source said.The alleged ruse fell apart, though, when the group left the Mall.
They got back into the car and pulled a U-turn -- in front of a real police officer in an unmarked car, according to a law enforcement source.
The unmarked car followed them, then pulled them over outside of Kirshesh's house on Furness Place, authorities allege.
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