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Crime Piracy Games

Man Tunnels Into GameStop, Steals Games 210

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the digging-for-treasure dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Life imitates Minecraft: Computer game piracy is big business, but there are still those who prefer to get their games the old-fashioned way: by digging a tunnel into their local games shop and making off with as much stock as they can carry. At least, that's the slightly bizarre approach taken by a man from Greeneville, Tennessee, who was arrested late last week after being caught tunneling into his local GameStop store from an empty adjoining building." Note that the link is thin, and the sources are behind logins and subscription links, so please post better URLs if you can find them.
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Man Tunnels Into GameStop, Steals Games

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  • by TheL0ser (1955440) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:25AM (#34904462)
    Someone's been watching a few too many bank heist movies.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ocean's 1.

    • Someone needs to learn about BitTorrent. If he's hoping to make money off of it, he could just burn games and movies onto DVDs and sell them to other people who are ignorant of BitTorrent.

      I don't approve of illegal downloads, but this is just stupid. Which is even worse than "slightly immoral".

      • by toastar (573882)
        You can download Game Consoles now?
        • In a manner of speaking [emulator-zone.com]

        • You still can't download game consoles. The article pokes fun at the thief's stone-age method used to steal games. OK, but I would imagine that he would be after the highest ticket items in the store - consoles of every flavor. Seems like he had access to a shared, perhaps basement, wall and basically tired to knock a hole in it. Hardly a tunnel. When I think of a tunnel I think border crossing feats of rogue engineering like this.http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2006/07/14/bc-pot-tunnel

          • by delinear (991444)
            Not to mention with items like Microsoft gamer points or Farmville credits or whatever, many game stores are as good as storing cash on the premises - easy to move, have the appearance of being anonymous (I don't know if they scan these before taking them from stock so they can trace them/cancel them, so I'm guessing the average thief doesn't know either, which must make them a tempting target).
            • Afaict most gift cards in shops at least in the UK are only assigned their value when the purchaser checks out, the ones sitting on the shelves are worthless. I wonder if they do the same for game cards.

              • They do the same for game and gift cards. Nobody leaves stacks of easy-to-pocket cash laying around on the store floor. It's all just bits of plastic and paper until scanned and activated at the register.

          • by blair1q (305137)

            If you have a PC you shouldn't need a game console.

          • by Firehed (942385)

            OK, but I would imagine that he would be after the highest ticket items in the store - consoles of every flavor.

            That just seems foolish to me, after thinking about it for five seconds. Sure, the consoles are going to bring the most value per item, so it makes sense at face value. It would also be harder to move stolen consoles without raising suspicion. It really makes sense to go for games and accessories. Nobody is going to question a bunch of new games being sold, especially this time of year ("I got them for Christmas but they didn't interest me"), and a small handful of games - five or so - is going to easily me

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            I can.

            I downloaded a SNES a Nintendo 64, a PS1, and a Sega Genesis.

            Honestly, some of the newer consoles emulators are coming along as well. I saw news of a Wii emulator being worked on.

      • Re:Done before (Score:4, Informative)

        by jonbryce (703250) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:38AM (#34904616) Homepage

        You get a lot more for a game in original packaging with unused serial number than you do for a CD-R labelled with a marker pen and crack instructions in a text file somewhere.

        • Sure, but you also have much more chance of getting caught if you physically break into a store.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Oh wait.
        • But lightscribing the DVDs and printing you own DVD covers with fake serial numbers is easier and safer than opening a hole to a shop.

        • Strangely enough, Gamestop opens most of the games and breaks the seal on the original packaging.

          • Re:Done before (Score:4, Informative)

            by delinear (991444) on Monday January 17, 2011 @01:19PM (#34905930)
            Tell me about it. Game and Gamestation do the same thing over here, as well as a bunch of the other usual retailers - HMV, the superstores, etc. and it was the final nail in me just not buying from them any more. It's bad enough that I have to worry about the fact that they stick the disk in some crappy cardboard sleeve tossed in a drawer (they don't seem to take particular care handling these things and they're a pain to return disks for scratches so you basically have to micro-inspect the disk in the store before you take it away), or that they've forgot to include all the manuals, DLC codes, etc that are meant to be with the game, and that's without even considering the fact that a less ethical employee might be selling multiplayer serials and such online - they're meant to be sealed for a reason! There's only one of the big high street retailers I can buy from now without them pre-opening everything (Argos, in case you wondered).
      • I think the major problem with that is that you often don't have multiplayer for a lot of those BitTorrented games.

        • I see.

          This story just reminded me of a friend ~2 years ago talking about buying dodgy DVDs. I didn't get why if she was going to being going the illegal route that she wouldn't just download them. She had a computer with a DVD burner and decent internet access. I suppose it does somewhat reduce the chance of the RIAA and their ilk catching up to you.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            I see.

            This story just reminded me of a friend ~2 years ago talking about buying dodgy DVDs. I didn't get why if she was going to being going the illegal route that she wouldn't just download them. She had a computer with a DVD burner and decent internet access. I suppose it does somewhat reduce the chance of the RIAA and their ilk catching up to you.

            I think you answered your own question.

            You're never realistically going to get caught buying dodgy DVDs.

            • by eleuthero (812560)
              Especially since the merchandise is always sold (everywhere I've been anyway) as "authentic" - claiming ignorance and stating you've noted the quality of movies in general dropping in the last few years seems reasonable if there is ever an issue for buying from a bootleg vendor.
      • Re:Done before (Score:5, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:55AM (#34904776) Journal

        Felony burglarly: State offense, 2-12 years in state prison, plus a $5000 fine. Likely at least two counts because two buildings were involved, but I'd expect the sentences to be served concurrently. Quite likely to be plea-bargained, and parole is available.

        Criminal copyright infringement under the No Electronic Theft Act: 5 years imprisonment in pound-me-in-the-ass Federal Prison (plea bargain unlikely and parole unavailable), a fine of up to $250,000, plus civil penalties of up to $100,000 per work infringed.

        Neither is likely to be much fun, but it looks like criminal copyright infringement still carries higher penalties. Note that if this is a second offense it goes up to 10 years imprisonment in PMITA Federal Prison.

        • by eleuthero (812560)
          Sounds to me like we need to seriously re-work criminal penalties. If committing an act that could lead to violence (either through application of the Castle law in your state or through the burglar freaking out and hurting / killing someone) has less penalty than one that only has economic impact, we have a problem in our system (and I am not arguing that we shouldn't be concerned about IP--though personally, I think there needs to be a change in how we look at this too).
          • by NevarMore (248971)

            Castle Doctrine *IS* the enhanced risk/penalty for committing crimes in person.

          • by pthisis (27352)

            Burglary of a residence (where the Castle law might apply) in TN is Aggravated Burglary and carries a higher penalty. If anyone is injured (whether in a residence or not) it immediately escalates to Epecially Aggravated Burglary.

            If committing an act that could lead to violence ...has less penalty than one that only has economic impact, we have a problem in our system

            As a general rule, to make that evaluation you have to determine the social damage of the violence vs. the economics. I'd definitely want Ber

        • by itsthebin (725864)

          pound-me-in-the-ass Federal Prison

          do you do it for enjoyment or are you paid ?

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          But the risk of being caught for the first is much higher. So the average penalty per crime would be lower for the second.

        • by blair1q (305137)

          it looks like criminal copyright infringement still carries higher penalties

          No, it doesn't. The penalty for infringement is up to 3 years in jail. That's less than "2-12" years. I couldn't figure out the fines from the title; that's one effed-up piece of legislative writing, there.

          And to get that 3 years you have to infringe 10 times in 6 months. Up to 3 years for 10 charges? that's up to 3.6 months per crime, if they throw the book at you. 1 burglary can get you at least 2 years. Which is a lot harsher all the way around.

          • by russotto (537200)

            No, it doesn't. The penalty for infringement is up to 3 years in jail. That's less than "2-12" years.

            Up to 5 years for a first offense, up to 10 years for a second or subsequent offense, for willful copyright violation for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain. Burning torrents to DVDs and selling them would come under this categorization.

            The fines are hard to find, they're actually hidden in 18 USC 3571.

            • by blair1q (305137)

              To get the (up to) 5 years it's 10 instances or more with total value of $2500, which for games would take a few dozen instances and for songs would take hundreds. Do that many burglaries and the upper limit is centuries.

              • by Imrik (148191)

                However, for copyright infringement it would likely be treated as one instance per game while for burglary it would be one instance per break in.

                • by blair1q (305137)

                  Here the law explicitly aggregates both muliple copies and multiple works into one count. Do a total of 10 or more in a 6-month period and it's one count.

                  Which brings up the obvious legal questions of is it 2 counts if you do 11? 20? 10 per 6 months for 1 year?

                  For burglary it's 1 count per act, which comes with other charges. Break into an empty store, that's 1 B&E. Break into the store next door through the wall, that's a second B&E. Take stuff away with you, that's 1 Burglary, which may obviat

        • Ha ha (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Chicken_Kickers (1062164) on Monday January 17, 2011 @04:37PM (#34908656)

          I had a conversation with an avowed American "patriot" railing against the draconian laws of countries like Iran where infidelity can get you stoned to death. My counter was similar to this example. You Westerners have even more draconian laws that don't even make sense. In the Western world, copying and idea will get you thrown into prison and bankrupted. And in a capitalistic society, being bankrupted is equivalent to an amputation of the limbs or even death. It seems, copyright infringements is the equivalent of religious heresy in secular capitalist countries.

          • by RajivSLK (398494)

            And in a capitalistic society, being bankrupted is equivalent to an amputation of the limbs or even death.

            I'm sorry but are you and everyone who modded this up insane in the mind?

            I don't think there is anybody in this capitalist society who would even pause for thought if given the choice between being bankrupted, amputated or killed.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        this is just stupid. Which is even worse than "slightly immoral".

        You can't help being stupid; morality is a matter of choice.

    • by DurendalMac (736637) on Monday January 17, 2011 @12:11PM (#34904950)
      Maybe so, but the real questions is...

      Did they have Battletoads?
    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      I blame the video games!

      It's obvious this sort of behavior was inspired by this persons addiction to Dig Dug. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dig_Dug [wikipedia.org]
    • Don't most bank heist movies incorporate a bloody third act? Frankly, the sandblaster scene in the Bank Job discouraged me from a life of crime.

  • Jeez (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheVidiot (549995) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:26AM (#34904482) Homepage
    Note that the link is thin, and the sources are behind logins and subscription links, so please post better URLs if you can find them.

    Isn't that your job?
    • Re:Jeez (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:31AM (#34904534) Homepage Journal

      Note that the link is thin, and the sources are behind logins and subscription links, so please post better URLs if you can find them.

      Isn't that your job?

      You must be new here if you think Taco and his so called 'editors' do anything other than sit around playing video games and collecting paychecks while posting a link once in awhile.

    • by chad_r (79875)
      Isn't that nearly every story? This is just a moment of rare honesty.
  • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:29AM (#34904510) Homepage

    "Note that the link is thin, and the sources are behind logins and subscription links, so please post better URLs if you can find them."

    Er, no? That's what I expect a story-poster to do for me? Or the editors? You know, those *paid* people?

    Might as well say "Vague story happens but you can only read about it on other sites - help us do our job and find other people's coverage so we can post the link here!"

    Seriously, as the days go buy, there's less and less reason to come to this site, and less and less reason to pay for a subscription.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by neumayr (819083)
      To be fair, there aren't many sources for that story. It's some regional news with only coincidental relevance for some fringe group of society after all..
      http://news.google.de/news/story?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=Greeneville,+Tennessee&ncl=dm5qbkfTcoN9UCMSJMUI6rFVH6iCM&channel=suggest [google.de]
    • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pharmboy (216950) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:41AM (#34904646) Journal

      It would appear that Slashdot is open sourcing its editing, and is now in perpetual Beta.

    • Devil's Advocate: /. is a news aggregator: They don't have journalists or reporters, just folks who sift through the cruft posted by regular users. If they can find links, they may well do. Help out and mod down stories which suck on the Firehose.
      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        Devil's Advocate: /. is a news aggregator: They don't have journalists or reporters, just folks who sift through the cruft posted by regular users. If they can find links, they may well do. Help out and mod down stories which suck on the Firehose.

        Google is a news aggregator, and all decisions are primarily based on code, not by humans. Slashdot is a technology news portal where the submissions are selected by, and then EDITED by the EDITORS, to filter out the debris and only allow the best to hit the front

        • by blair1q (305137)

          /. automated the process a long time ago. The "editors" now just select what bubbles up to the top of the +/- ratings on the "recent stories" list (aka "the firehose"), make up a snarky department-of-taglines-department-tagline for the box on the form, then go back to pwning each other in MOH:AA. That Taco took the time to click on the links and realize it's probably link-spam actually puts him in the running for their annual "works too fscking hard" award.

  • by n1hilist (997601) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:31AM (#34904540)

    He was just playing Dig Dug ;)

  • by east coast (590680) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:34AM (#34904568)
    The boy just played far too much Minecraft.
  • by RogueyWon (735973) on Monday January 17, 2011 @11:36AM (#34904596) Journal

    I'm guessing he did this with the intention of selling the games on and profiting. It certainly can't have been for his own enjoyment.

    Unless, of course, there's some strange pleasure that he gets from owning 500 used copies of Madden and 500 used copies of Black Ops (plus maybe, if he's really lucky, a single new copy of Madden as well).

    • by NevarMore (248971)

      I'm imagining a 20-something in a hoodie with a room piled full of video games swimming around like Scrooge McDuck.

      Perhaps Caesar from History of the World Part One, "TREASURE BATH!!!!".

      • My father imparted a pearl of wisdom unto me many years ago:

        TheDad: You've heard the saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure," right?
        Me: Yeah.
        TheDad: How do you make the distinction?
        Me: I dunno.
        TheDad: "Treasure" is desired by someone in addition to just yourself.

        See, I *was* actually paying attention in my yout.
  • Not an SSH tunnel ! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mbone (558574)

    I had to read the post twice to get that the OP was referring to a real, not a virtual, tunnel.

  • Well GameStop should really invest in some quality security. I hear that lava walls and gravel walls are moderately secure. Of course they're by-passable with time, but they're far more efficient then creating a mob generator.
  • Or, maybe Minecraft imitated life to begin with. It's not like the concept of sappers and tunneling was invented by Minecraft.

    Now, that doesn't mean that tunneling into a video game store isn't just plain bizarre.

    • At the current state of copyright law, it's probably better to be caught tunneling into a game shop and stealing physical copies than downloading the same amount of copies on bittorrent.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        At the current state of copyright law, it's probably better to be caught tunneling into a game shop and stealing physical copies than downloading the same amount of copies on bittorrent.

        Sadly, you are probably correct.

  • Stealing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Burpmaster (598437) on Monday January 17, 2011 @12:05PM (#34904882)

    Pay attention people: This is what actual theft looks like.

  • Found link... (Score:5, Informative)

    by alyawn (694153) on Monday January 17, 2011 @12:05PM (#34904890)
    Found a link [greenevillesun.com] to the local paper. Not that hard to find. But light on the details.
  • NOT a Tunnel! (Score:5, Informative)

    by markass530 (870112) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `035ssakram'> on Monday January 17, 2011 @01:28PM (#34906034) Homepage
    The dude just busted a hole in the wall. In my world, a tunnel goes underground, and I think the reason the story seemed so good is that was inferred.
  • by digitalhermit (113459) on Monday January 17, 2011 @01:43PM (#34906238) Homepage

    Just last week in that vacant store front there used to be a chapter of the "Red Headed League". They organized events for the fiery headed, like myself. Shame that it has come to this.

  • I was like, ooh, never heard of Minecraft, then I watched the youtube video and was all, ooh I want to play. And I bet 1K others are all doing the same thing right now 'cuz the site's on its knees.
    • by lgw (121541)

      You do realize that Minecraft was the most popular indie game of 2010, with well over a milion copies sold? A few slashdotters probaly aren't the problem. "Dorf fortress with graphics" might even be a new genre, much like "MUD with pictures" was.

      • by PJ6 (1151747)
        Guess I'm out of the loop, but this site is so abysmally slow that "most popular indie game of 2010" didn't exactly come to mind when I saw it.
  • According to TFA: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Peter Simpson (112887) on Monday January 17, 2011 @02:24PM (#34906922)
    It wasn't so much "tunneling", as it was "breaking through the drywall from the adjacent store", which he'd forcibly entered by prying a door open. Pretty sloppy job.
  • I can't see any reason why this was posted under YRO instead of, say Idle...whose online rights were threatened / supported / affected here? The thief? The store owner? The potential purchasers of the physical game copies?
     

  • He could have alleviated suspicion from his actions if he'd just had some red-headed gentlemen in the empty building, copying out the Encyclopædia Britannica all day long.

    Of course, the penalty for copyright infringement on the Encyclopedia would be orders of magnitude worse than simply stealing, so perhaps that isn't such a great cover anymore.

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