Virtual Furniture Thief Arrested
The question of who has metaphysical jurisdiction in virtual worlds is not one so carefully addressed in Amsterdam as police have arrested a virtual criminal. In the Netherlands, at least, theft is theft and has real-world consequences.
In this case, it’s the arrest of a 17-year-old and the questioning of four 15-year-old accomplices.
They’re crime: Stealing virtual furniture and putting it in their own virtual pads at the Habbo Hotel.
Just like in Second Life, Habbo has its own virtual economy, and the furniture was worth nearly $6,000, according to a Reuters report.
It’s not far-fetched to think that the teens, like many others, had a hard time wrapping their minds around facing consequences based on virtual crimes – it’s like your wife accusing you of cheating for having a raunchy dream.
And teenagers being teenagers are especially likely to misunderstand the concept of consequences, real world or virtual. Sulake, the parent company of Habbo Hotel boasts 80 million users, all trading in virtual currency that can be traded for "real" money.
But one thing’s for certain, the Dutch police aren’t wasting time debating lofty concepts like metaphysical jurisdiction. These teenagers are facing real penalties.