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Real-Life 'Grand Theft Auto' Stunt Gets College Kid Arrested

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on September 25, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A "Grand Theft Auto" enthusiast allegedly stole a truck, kidnapped a woman and hit several parked cars -- but it wasn't a game.

Zachary Burgess, a 20-year-old Auburn University lacrosse player and apparent "Grand Theft Auto" Superfan, reportedly told arresting officers he wanted to play the video game "in real life."

Welcome to the 3-D generation of n00bs.

'Grand Theft Auto': From the Screen to the Streets

Burgess, who was in Louisiana to see Auburn take on LSU, ditched the football game plans to play a game of his own.

The Alabama student allegedly stole a woman's truck -- with her inside -- and slammed it into nine parked vehicles, reports Baton Rouge's WVLA-TV.

During questioning, Burgess allegedly told an officer that he "wanted to see what it was really like to play the video game Grand Theft Auto."

So what's the price of "playing" such a violent "game" in the flesh? Charges that include theft of a motor vehicle, simple kidnapping and nine counts of hit and run driving. Oh, and $80,000 to post bond.

Many jurisdictions, including Louisiana, create additional classes or categories of theft for particularly troubling theft crimes. Of course, the most notorious example is "grand theft auto." Typically, these narrowly categorized types of theft receive harsher punishments than standard, comparable theft crimes.

Game Over: Citizen's Arrest

Unfortunately for Burgess, it seems he's not that great at "GTA." This was a game he couldn't win.

Angry birds drivers in the area halted his car. When Burgess took to running, passersby chased him down and held him on the ground until cops arrived to arrest him at 2:30 a.m., reports WVLA-TV.

In certain situations, ordinary folks are allowed to legally detain criminals until sworn law-enforcement agents arrive.

To make a legal citizen's arrest, you must typically express your intent to arrest the suspect, apprehend the suspect with minimum force, and call the police.

In this case, it seems the private citizens complied with the legal requirements for making a citizen's arrest of the "Grand Theft Auto" Superfan.

Maybe next time, Burgess will attempt a more benign video game move like trying to slide down a rainbow, or something. It's pretty safe to say that people won't be handing Burgess a copy of "Counter-Strike" anytime soon.

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