The European Leisure Software Publishers Association, the games industry's answer to Shaw Taylor, is seeking your help to track down an audacious band of robbers who've run off with three separate lorryloads of PC and PlayStation games.
We say 'audacious', but the tea leaves don't appear to have had too tough a time of it. The spate of thefts, which began last December and have been followed by two other similar incidents, have focused on trucks left unattended.
The first was driven away from a service station on the M6 near Cannock, Staffordshire, between Wolverhampton and Stafford. The second incident took place in another service station, this time at Bedworth, just north of Coventry. The most recent theft, called an "attack" by Elspa, took place at Gailey, Staffordshire, about a mile west of the first incident.
The third truck contained 4,000 copies of Take Two Interactive's not-yet-released PC title Serious Sam, all together worth around £120,000, Elspa reckons. Though since the game retails for 20 quid, we're not entirely sure how it comes up with that figure. Posters, cardboard cut-outs and dump bins make up the remaining £40,000, which seems rather a lot to us, so there were probably some other, miscellaneous games in there too.
With the official launch date set for 13 April, Elspa is asking anyone who sees copies of the game before then to report the matter. Chances are, though, the thieves will wait a week or so and then sell the software.
Take Two's roster of titles includes, ironically enough, Grand Theft Auto and Smugglers' Run.
Elspa said it will pay out a "significant" reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the ROM robbers. Like a free copy of Serious Sam, for instance. ®
- Anyone with information regarding the three thefts or has seen copies of Serious Sam for sale should contact Detective Sergeant White at Cannock C.I.D on 01785 716189. Alternatively, they can contact the Elspa hotline on 0870 513 3405.