Thieves Caught’em All With Pokémon Go

Omar Rashad, Sports Editor

Pokémon Go has received an enormous amount of attention from smartphone users with its throwback theme and virtual reality point of view. However, as captivating as it has proven to be so far, it’s being used for a more nefarious purpose- robbery.
Pokémon Go is a virtual game where players go to locations in real life to complete virtual and in-game tasks in order to get rewards and collect pokémon. Going to local places is a necessity in order to play, and oftentimes, players meetup and go out to locations together. These locations are also significant parts of the community, such as landmarks, ponds, parks, churches, schools, etc. Sky Lee (12) said, “Being in a group and playing in a group is much better than being alone because there are more people which makes playing more fun.”
With these places being known to all users, four teens decided to lure players into traps so that they would be vulnerable.  Forcing them at gunpoint, the thieves robbed these victims of money and other valuables. This was part of a string of incidents throughout Missouri where other cities had similar reports of this same type of crime.
According to Sergeant Stringer of the O’Fallon Police Department, “Using the geolocation feature, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims” (The Guardian). Officers approached the suspects following a 2AM report, where they were arrested. The suspects were charged as adults for first degree robbery and set their bond at $100,000.
This is not the only danger facing players with the rise of this new game. Since users have to walk or drive in order to get to locations and complete tasks, other reports have been released saying that players are being hospitalized after entering hazardous places in real life in order to catch a pokémon or battle at the virtual game location.
The release of this game comes with its piggybacking minuses by raising new safety issues within the community, as the next pedestrian or driver people see will probably be playing the game, instead of paying attention to their environment. Staying safe is the most important part of the game, like how Ryan Vo (11)  said, “Safety is important because in the end, people’s lives are more important than the game.” He went on to say, “Even just looking up and being aware of your surroundings every few minutes can ensure player safety.”
Pokémon Go, like any other game, comes with cons to keep in mind, and players just being extra vigilant can avoid future incidents that endanger themselves and others.