Trio Charged With Criminal Impersonation, Face Up To 1 Year In Jail If Convicted

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A trio of friends apparently couldn’t wait their turn to get their hands on the new Grand Theft Auto V video game.

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Investigators said just after midnight Tuesday, the three men posed as NYPD officers and flashed badges so they could cut hundreds of people in line at the Staten Island Mall to buy the popular game.

The suspects allegedly made their getaway in a car that was once used as an unmarked police vehicle — complete with lights and sirens. However, they allegedly ran a few lights before the real police caught up with them, CBS 2’s Jannelle Burrell reported.

Kirolos Abdel Sayed, 19, Matthew Kirshen, 20, and Frank Santanastaso, 19, have been charged with criminal impersonation and face up to a year in jail if convicted. They were arraigned and eventually released, Burrell reported.

Sayed is an auxiliary NYPD officer and Santanastaso is the son of a retired NYPD officer, Burrell reported.

Neighbors and others were stunned by the allegations.

“He’s very polite,” Sayed’s neighbor, Fran De Sando, said. “I never would think he’d be involved in some crazy thing like this.”

“I think that’s crazy, I would never do that,” said Richmondtown resident Joe Lombardo. “I’ve never heard of anybody doing that.”

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“If you got to go to this extent to play games or anything like that it’s too much,” said Staten Island resident Mike Sierra.

“I think that’s ridiculous. It really is. Shouldn’t be dressing like a cop, period,” said Abigail Olmedo of the Richmond Hill section of the borough.

“I’m glad they got in trouble for it,” resident Antonio Hernandez added.

The intense demand for the violent game is international.

In London, after Tuesday’s midnight release, a man was hit with a brick and stabbed before thieves made off with his copy, Burrell reported.

The newest installment of Grand Theft Auto is expected to rake in $1 billion in sales in just one month.

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