Armed robbers are using the Pokemon Go game to lure victims to isolated spots and then rob them of their belongings. So far this has been happening in Missouri, USA, particularly in St. Louis in St. Charles counties but given the popularity of the Pokémon Go game, many other robbers in different parts of the world are expected to use the Pokémon Go game to carry out robberies and even other nasty acts. So far, nine people, aged between 18 and 20 mostly, have fallen victims to such robberies.
Pokemon Go is basically an outdoors game. Once you start playing the game, it directs you to capture imaginary creatures, mostly represented by popular landmarks in your neighbourhood. When you visit these spots called “Pokestops”, you gather supplies such as Pokeballs. Then you use these Pokeballs to capture the Pokémon. Then you use these Pokemons to fight different sorts of battles. It uses augmented reality to make itself more interesting and engaging.
According to the statement released by the Pokémon Company International and Niantic, Inc., “We are aware that some incidents have occurred involving fans playing Pokémon Go. We encourage all people playing Pokémon Go to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends when going to new or unfamiliar places. Please remember to be safe and alert all the times. We are humbled by the overwhelmingly positive response to Pokémon Go and greatly appreciate the support of our fans.”
The game is seriously popular. The Pokemon Go international rollout has been paused because the players have overloaded the system. Officially it is only available in US, Australia and New Zealand and after two days of its release, the Pokemon Go game was already installed on 5.16% of all Android devices in the US (source). In fact, it’s installs are more than the dating app Tinder, proving how deeply people can feel attached to childhood cartoon icons.
The police departments in various cities have issued warnings informing people that the Pokemon Go game is being used to lure victims to isolated spots and then rob them. As mentioned above, the situation is really serious. Even the developers of the game have noted that the game is being used to lure victims and rob them. The developers and promoters of the Pokemon Go game wouldn’t like such a reputation for their game, especially a game replete with cute, weirdly named characters.
I’m pretty sure soon we will have a Hollywood horror movie involving the Pokemon Go game and some psychopath leading people to isolated spots and then slaughtering them.