Russia on Thursday handed life sentences to four gangsters who brutally murdered 17 motorists using methods similar to those of the violent video game Grand Theft Auto.
Moscow Regional Court sentenced four members of the group that Russian media nicknamed the “GTA gang” to life imprisonment for killing their victims in carefully planned attacks, TASS state news agency reported.
In the dead of night, the gang members placed metal spikes on roads outside Moscow to burst the tyres of passing cars, then ruthlessly gunned down their drivers and robbed them before fleeing.
The court found that the men were specially trained to carry out the attacks and observed a strict hierarchy within the gang.
Among their victims were a policeman, a senior banker and a former dancer from a famous folk dancing troupe.
Four other gang members who had been on trial were killed by security forces last year as they made a violent attempt to escape during a previous court hearing.
The handcuffed prisoners seized their guards’ guns as they were being escorted in a lift and tried to flee but were captured by Russia’s National Guard after a shootout.
Russian television showed images of special forces guarding the court on Thursday.