A Long Island man took the concept of a sore loser to a new level when police say he threatened to kill an 11-year-old boy after losing to him in a video game.
Suffolk County Police say Michael Aliperti, 45, sent threatening text messages and online voice messages to the boy that "threatened to shoot the child, possibly at his school," according to a press release issued by the police department.
The pair had been playing the video game Fortnite on XBox One before the threatening messages began at around 9 p.m. on Monday. The two knew each other through gaming and had no other relationship outside of that sphere, a police spokesperson told Oxygen.com.
In the threats, police said the man told the boy he would come to his home and cause him pain and also mentioned the boy's school, according to Newsday.
"I find this to be a very troubling thing," Suffolk County Police Chief of Department Stuart Cameron said at a Tuesday news conference according to the news organization. "It's kind of shocking to me."
The boy's parents reported the threats to police, who took Aliperti into custody at about 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday at his home, police said. He's been charged with aggravated harassment in the second degree and acting in a manner to injure a child.
Aliperti's attorney, Andrew Karpf, told Newsday his client has been going through a "bitter divorce." Karpf plans to request transcripts of the exchange between the two gamers.
"Salty language is a two-way street and it's normal behavior in the gaming community," he told the newspaper.
Despite Aliperti's arrest, police increased their presence at the boy's school on Tuesday and school officials cautioned parents about speaking to their children about the potential dangers online.
"Many of our children (mine included) engage in gaming on the internet," Kings Park Central School District Superintendent Timothy Eagen wrote in a statement posted on the district's website. "The newest craze is over the game Fortnite. We should all use this incident as an important reminder that children should not be gaming with individuals that they do not know."
Aliperti was arraigned on the charges on Tuesday. Bail was set at $2,500 cash or $10,000 bond. Justice Andrew Crecca also issued an order of protection to prevent Aliperti from contacting the victim, Newsday reports.
[Photo: Suffolk County Police]
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