Teenagers who police say went on a video-game-inspired
late-night crime spree were arraigned yesterday after they mugged a man outside
a New Hyde Park supermarket and menaced motorists in Garden City with a
baseball bat, a crowbar and a broomstick, Nassau police said.
The teens told detectives they were imitating the "Grand Theft Auto"
video-game series where characters steal cars, beat up other characters and
commit crimes, authorities said.
Police have identified at least three victims: a man they said was severely
beaten during a robbery; a would-be carjacking victim; and a driver whose van
was smashed with a bat.
Nassau Det. Lt. Raymond Cot� said there are likely more victims who were
At one point during the spree, the initial group of four encountered other
"They realize they know them from school and they can't rob them," Cot�
said. "Two of them they enlist in this crime spree and now they're joining the
pack. It's an angry mob of youths."The six suspects were all charged as adults.
Arrested and charged with felony robbery were Dylan Laird, 17, of
Southborough, Mass., and Stephen Attard, 18, Samuel Philip, 16, Brandon Cruz,
15, and Gurnoor Singh, 14, all of New Hyde Park. Police did not release photos
of Cruz or Singh because of their age.
Jaspreet Singh, 17, of New Hyde Park, was charged with criminal possession
of stolen property.
The teens committed the crimes Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, police
It began Tuesday when the group was hanging out at a park in New Hyde Park,
"They decide that they're going to go do some street robberies, emulating
the popular fictional character Niko Bellic," Cot� said, referring to a star of
"Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City."
The group attacked a man near a New Hyde Park supermarket who had just
finished an evening shift and was waiting for a bus, Cot� said.
"They approach him from behind, force him to the ground, start punching
him, kicking him, knocking the teeth out of his head and take what he has on
him," Cot� said.
They stole a small amount of cash and a cell phone, he said.
After fleeing, the suspects broke into sheds and storage units in a hunt
for makeshift weapons including the bat, crowbar and broomstick, Cot� said.
Near New Hyde Park Road and Stewart Avenue, they formed a human roadblock.
A woman driving a 2008 BMW was forced to stop. Cops say the group wanted to
"She was scared for her life," Cot� said. They stole her cigarettes, and
she sped off and called 911, he said.
The six suspects were arrested by Garden City police responding to a 911
call shortly after the group approached the third victim and hit his car with a
Staff writers Sophia Chang and Joseph Mallia contributed to this story.
THEY GOT BLAME
"Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City" is the latest incarnation of the hugely
popular role-playing video game by Rockstar Games, a subsidiary of Take-Two
Interactive Software Inc.
The game is rated M, for mature, by Entertainment Software Rating Board
because of "intense violence, blood, strong language, strong sexual content,
partial nudity, and use of drugs and alcohol," according to the board's Web
site. The board says the game should be played only by people 17 and older.