Thieves using Pokémon Go to find players to rob in Missouri

Gotta snatch ‘em all.

At least 11 Pokémon Go players have been robbed because of the app, as thieves used traps to lure in their victims, the O’Fallon Police Department in Missouri said.

The four alleged thieves were busted prowling around in a BMW with a handgun, looking for Pokémon Go players enticed by the prospect of catching them all about an hour outside of St. Louis.

The majority of the victims were playing alone when the armed robbers encountered them, Sgt. Bill Stringer told the Daily News.

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“They’re not aware of their surroundings because they’re staring at their phones,” he said.

Pokémon Go, which became wildly popular after its release last Wednesday, uses a smartphone’s camera and GPS to have players chase after and “catch” Pokémon in real life.

Pokémon Go is displayed on a cell phone — the game has become the top-grossing app in the App Store just days after becoming available in the U.S. 

Pokémon Go is displayed on a cell phone — the game has become the top-grossing app in the App Store just days after becoming available in the U.S. 

(Richard Vogel/AP)

Players can use bait to attract more Pokémon at certain locations, and O’Fallon police believe the thieves used the feature to lure in unsuspecting fans to remote spots like empty parking lots for the robberies.

The four suspects, aged between 16 and 18, would steal their victim’s phones and personal belongings before driving off, Stringer told the News.

The tech-thieves admitted to using the app as part of their nasty plot when speaking to investigators.

The four have yet to be formally charged, but are suspected of multiple armed robberies.

“If you use this app (or other similar type apps) or have children that do, we ask you to please use caution when alerting strangers of your future location,” the department said in its statement.

Since its launch, Pokémon Go has encountered plenty of real-life consequences, including a Wyoming teenager who found a dead body while trying to catch a Pikachu.

Several wannabe Pokémon Masters have suffered minor bumps and bruises while playing after failing to pay attention to the real world during the game.

In Australia, the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services had to put out a public notice after too many diehard players were going into the precinct to get Pokéballs, since the Darwin Police Station was featured as a Pokéstop.

“It’s also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street. That Sandshrew isn’t going anywhere fast,” the agency said.

Tags:
pokemon go
missouri
video games

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