Dutch teens convicted for virtual theft

A Dutch court has convicted two teenagers of theft after they stole items inside a virtual world.

The teens used violence to rob a 13-year-old classmate after they “kicked and struck the victim and threatened him with a knife” – virtually, of course – for an amulet and a mask.

Leeuwarden District Court ruled that the virtual goods were the same as physical goods under Dutch law, and charged both teenagers with community service.

Radio Netherlands reported that the two teenagers, a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old, will have to serve 160 and 200 hours respectively.

However, there turns out there was more to the story than initially reported.

While the Associated Press mentioned that the victim was coerced, Gamepolitics received a tip from a fellow Dutchman who had been following the case.

[The media reports] omitted a few important details: The duo not only stole the virtual goods, but actually beat the other kid up and threatened him with a knife. They extorted an amulet and mask. In Runescape they’re worth a lot of money and in real life people buy them for real money, which is one of the reasons the judge said it was theft.

The boys were convicted for “violent theft”. They lured the victim to their house, caught him in a chokehold and kicked and hit him. They used a kitchen knife to threaten the victim. Both thieves showed no regret and didn’t acknowledge they did something wrong, which is never good if you find yourself in a Dutch court… The lawyers will appeal.

Another Dutch website, Parool.nl, was able to confirm the tip. A translation of the website reveals that both boys received one and two months youth detention.

Sources: SMH, Gamepolitics, Parool.nl (Dutch)

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