Over the course of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, nobody proves to be a more consistent threat to protagonist Carl “CJ” Johnson than Frank Tenpenny and members of C.R.A.S.H. From the beginning of the game, Tenpenny and his thugs serve as central antagonists to the player, arresting CJ and dumping him in rival gang territory as soon as he steps foot in Los Santos. With the recent release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, players are learning to hate C.R.A.S.H. all over again. 

Who exactly are San Andreas’ C.R.A.S.H., and what do they have against CJ? Constantly hounding after the game’s protagonist, C.R.A.S.H. is quick to earn the player’s ire, with many GTA: San Andreas players likely feeling as though they forming a personal vendetta against them. With an obvious past connection to CJ, C.R.A.S.H. and its leader Tenpenny certainly make for interesting antagonists worth exploring.

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C.R.A.S.H. stands for Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums, a special unit of the Los Santos police department. While police are a constant nuisance in GTA games, these members of the LSPD are particularly hateable. Though the unit’s founder Frank Tenpenny claims it was started to protect San Andreas from gangs and street crime, the unit is steeped in police brutality and corruption. C.R.A.S.H. even goes so far as doing business with drug-running gangs, such as the Ballas, completely going against the stated purpose of their unit.

Frank Tenpenny & Carl Johnson Have History Before San Andreas

Though each and every member of C.R.A.S.H. in GTA: San Andreas is complacent in corruption, none are worse than their leader Frank Tenpenny, who serves as the game’s main antagonist. Though he might claim to be pitting the gangs against each other, he actively works with the Ballas and is a part of their crack cocaine enterprise. He has a lot of influence over the gangs of San Andreas, even managing to turn members of the Grove Street Families to his side.

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Frank’s history with CJ before the events of the game is apparent, though it isn’t elaborated on much in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas itself. CJ and Frank have known each other since before the death of CJ’s brother, Brian, and the two call each other by name at the start of the game. While Frank is known to extort several members of Grove Street, he seems to especially enjoy exerting control over CJ, pushing him around as often as possible to remind him of who’s in charge. Right at the start of the game, Tenpenny uses CJ to do his bidding, threatening to frame him for the murder of internal affairs officer Ralph Pendelbury, whom Frank had killed moments before.

C.R.A.S.H. serves as the catalyst to the story of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and to keep the player on their toes. While CJ may have many more run-ins with the street gangs of San Andreas, such as his rival gang the Ballas, C.R.A.S.H. and Frank Tenpenny are constantly nipping at his heels and more often than not have an unseen part to play in the game’s drama. The amazing story and timeless gameplay of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas make it an explosive finale to the GTA Trilogy, and having such a well-written antagonist only helps to raise the tension.

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