Armed Robbers in Missouri Are Reportedly Using Pokémon Go to Target Potential Victims: Cops
Missouri police believe suspects lured their victims to isolated areas using the app
Police are warning Pokémon Go players to be extra careful.
Following reports that the popular smartphone game, which send players hunting for characters in the real world, has caused injuries and led one Wyoming teen to discovering a dead body, a Missouri police department says the game is being linked to armed robberies.
In a statement on their Facebook page, the O’Fallon Missouri Police Department said that they were alerted to an armed robbery at 2 a.m. Sunday. They say the suspects, who had a handgun, have now been connected to a series of armed robberies in the area. Authorities believe they used the Pokémon Go app to target their victims and lure them to isolated spots.
As a player walks around, Pokémon Go uses their phone’s GPS to alert them when they’re close to a creature. When they turn on the camera, the Pokémon appears on what the phone sees, and players can flick Pokéballs with their fingers to capture them. On some levels, players can congregate to join teams and battle.
The O’Fallon Missouri Police Department told Gizmodo that the suspects include four men between the ages of 16 and 18. The police confirmed the incidents to PEOPLE, adding that they believe the suspects are connected to eight cases.
“Using the geolocation feature, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims,” Sgt. Bill Stringer told The Guardian.
The names of the suspects are expected to be released Sunday after warrants are issued.
“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 police warned on Facebook.