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Grand Theft Auto reportedly inspires teen rampage

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Anti-violent videogame campaigners have long searched for hard evidence that some titles inspire real-life crimes, and now they may have an example.

According to a report by Newsday.com, a group of five US teenagers that recently went on the rampage in Nassau County, New York told Vice City police that they were acting out scenes from the game series. The gang apparently didn’t have access to rocket launchers, handguns and helicopters, so went out on a spree with a baseball bat, crowbar and broomstick.

During the riot, the teens mugged one man outside a supermarket and “menaced motorists” with their implements of mayhem, police claimed. One victim reportedly had his teeth knocked out, while a driver had his van smashed with a bat, and another was subjected to an attempted carjack.

Detective Raymond Coté said the youths decided they would go out and do some street robberies “emulating the popular fictional character Niko Bellic".

In one instance, the gang approach a man from behind, forced him to the ground and started “punching him, kicking him, knocking the teeth out of his head and took what he had on him".

The group obviously achieved at least one wanted star, and were rounded up by police and arrested. But antagonist Stephen Attard, aged 18 of New Hyde Park, was charged with first-degree robbery. Others were charged with robbery, and one was charged with criminal possession of stolen property. One gang member was only 14 years old.

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