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GTA Online griefers get their comeuppance, and it’s glorious

Don’t mess with the Gurntmobile

GTA Online - “Gurntmobile 2” Aaron Reynolds/Twitter
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Grand Theft Auto Online, the online multiplayer component of Grand Theft Auto 5, has over time morphed into a unique experience that is very much its own thing, a place with its own rules and quirks that would likely confuse newcomers. Of course, there are plenty of jerks in the wide-open world of Los Santos and Blaine County, the kind of people who would screw with you just for the fun of it. So here’s a story of one player who exploited the rules of GTA Online, turning them against his would-be griefers.

Aaron Reynolds, the curator of Twitter accounts such as Batman 66 Labels, is a 42-year-old father of three who describes himself as “awful at video games.” He bought his children a PlayStation 4 for Christmas, and dove into GTA Online. It did not go well.

One of the first concepts you learn in GTA Online is that you can insure cars, and that you definitely should get insurance for personal vehicles — if they’re impounded by the police or destroyed, the only way to get them back is to file an insurance claim. (No, seriously.)

Reynolds found a nice car or two and tried to take them to in-game auto body shops, which is where you go to customize a vehicle. But as Reynolds discovered, trolls like to lie in wait at the body shops and destroy cars that people bring in. So he decided to fight back by using the insurance system against the griefers.

Under the theft/loss prevention program in GTA Online, if another player destroys your car, they get hit with a “Bad Sport” penalty — making them responsible for the claim fee, which is 1.25 percent of the car’s value. Reynolds got to work customizing an old-school muscle car to the tune of $1 million:

If you do the math, 1.25 percent of $1 million is $12,500 — not an insignificant sum in the world of GTA Online. Players soon figured out the ruse and began warning each other about the blue menace, which Reynolds had christened the “Gurntmobile” after his in-game character. That forced Reynolds to change things up, and it worked beautifully:

Gurntmobile 2 tweets Aaron Reynolds/Twitter via Polygon

You can follow the continuing adventures of Reynolds, the Gurntmobiles and Operation: One Million Dollar Car on Twitter at the hashtag #o1mdc.