Pokemon Go seems to have achieved the impossible: making video game nerds eager to go outside for hours at a time.
That’s the problem with outside, though — outside is full of people, and a lot of them are jerks.
If you managed to miss the whole Pokemon boat like me, Pokemon GO is an augmented reality game where you have to actually go out in public to PokeStops — preset locations in parking lots, churches, parks etc — to capture and train your weird anime creatures with your phone. This has the hilarious side effect of players “accidentally getting exercise,” as Gizmodo reports, and being confused when their muscles are sore afterwards. (I spent most of yesterday thinking the game was literally sending my friends to the gym, until I realized it’s a virtual gym for your Pokemons to train in.)
But it turns out that people turning up in predictable locations, carrying expensive phones and staring at their screens instead of looking around them could be prime targets for armed robbers.
Police in O’Fallon, Missouri say that four men have used the game to find players at a specific location, and robbed them using a handgun.
About eight or nine people have been robbed by four men over the past couple of days, a spokesperson from the O’Fallon Police Department told Gizmodo over the phone. The latest robbery occurred Sunday morning at around 2am by the men in a black BMW before they were finally apprehended by police.
This isn’t the only time Pokemon GO has turned out to be a hassle for cops. In this post on Imgur, a player talks about going out to look for Pokemon at three in the morning because he couldn’t sleep, and running into “two sketchy looking dudes sitting on a bench”:
“One of them waves ‘My man, check over by the blue truck over there we got an onyx earlier.’ So I wander over by the truck and sure enough there’s a fucking onyx there. Awesome. So I end up chatting with the guys for a bit, told em where I got my evee, they convinced me to join red team when I hit level five so we could ‘lock shit down’ in the the neighborhood.
Then the cop shows up.
Yeah, so it turns out two twentysomething black dudes and a forty year old white guy chilling in the park at 3am looks strange. It took a bit of talking to convince the cop we weren’t doing a drug deal, and a bit longer to explain the game. Then the cop downloaded the fucking game on his phone and asked us how to get started.
Go red team.”