Handgun-wielding robbers who burst into a video-game store in Harford County over the weekend made off with more than just cash. They also stole more than 100 copies of the highly anticipated "Call of Duty: Black Ops," which won't go on sale until Tuesday.
At least two men were involved in the robbery, timing it for when the GameStop in the Festival at Bel Air shopping center on Bel Air South Parkway was about to close on Saturday night, the Harford County Sheriff's Office said Sunday. The men, armed with semi-automatic guns, stole four cases full of "Black Ops" — the newest game in the popular "Call of Duty" series — as well as cash and game systems. Police arrived on the scene around 9:20 p.m.
It was the second armed robbery of a Harford County GameStop store in less than three weeks. The sheriff's office said the men might also be responsible for the other incident, at the GameStop's Aberdeen location on Oct. 21.
While the robbery at the Bel Air store was under way on Saturday, two customers stopped by and were forced into a storage area at gunpoint. Neither they nor store employees were hurt, the sheriff's office said.
The "Black Ops" games stolen Saturday night had been set aside for sale on Tuesday, said Monica Worrell, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office. Fans across the country have pre-ordered copies to avoid missing out.
" 'Call of Duty: Black Ops' isn't out there 'til Tuesday, so anybody that has it today or tomorrow shouldn't have it," Worrell said Sunday, asking residents to call the sheriff's office if they're offered copies before the release date.
The game — rated "mature" for intense violence, strong language and "blood and gore" — can be pre-ordered from retailers for about $60. It's a first-person shooter in which gamers play from the perspective of several characters, including a member of two secretive CIA squads. An Associated Press article about the game noted that developers tried to make it feel like "an epic interactive action flick."
The robbers who stole the game from the Bel Air GameStop fled in a late-model white minivan, police said, possibly a Dodge Caravan. A late-model white minivan was also seen at the time of the Aberdeen robbery.
A GameStop manager referred press inquiries to a corporate spokeswoman, who did not return a message seeking comment Sunday.