Travel Alert: Robbers Targeting ‘Pokémon Go’ Players

By Jesse Sokolow on 11 July 2016
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This was to be a review of “Pokémon Go,” a viral phenomenon that’s only been available since last Thursday, but the game’s use of augmented reality – namely that Pokémon will appear as if they’ve been spotted in the real world – can put players in high-risk situations, made us change our plans.

Last week, Nintendo and the Pokémon Company debuted “Pokémon Go” on both iOS and Android platforms. It’s a new take on the classic video game where players catch and train special creatures known as Pokémon.

To play, one starts the app and treks to local landmarks known as Pokestops with the goal of gathering Pokeballs, which are used to capture Pokémon or pocket monsters.

However, criminal elements devised methods to lure people using the app out of their homes, offices, and hotel rooms to Pokestops, which are used as traps, in order to rob them.

Police in two counties in Missouri are reporting that criminals lured victims to specific and remote locations set up specifically to rob them at gunpoint.

“This morning at approximately 2 a.m. we responded to the report of an armed robbery near the intersection of Highway K and Feise Road,” said the O’Fallon Police Department in a statement on Facebook. “We were able to locate four suspects occupying a black BMW a short time later and recover a handgun.”

The department confirmed that the suspects specifically targeted their victims using “Pokémon Go” and that they were responsible for multiple robberies in the course of several days.

Three suspects were charged with first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. A fourth suspect was being held as a juvenile.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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