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Robbers Are Using Pokémon GO To Target Victims

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 11, 2016 5:09PM

Screenshot from Pokémon GO: Get Up and Go!

The massively popular augmented-reality game Pokémon GO allows players to capture various Poke-creatures that are virtually scattered across real-life environments—but users might have to worry about being targets themselves in the real world.

The Pokémon GO Chicago community tweeted on Sunday night that some users had been robbed at Millennium Park and along Michigan Ave.

We're still waiting on police to confirm, but this would not be the first instance in which robbers have targeted people using the app since it was launched last week. The O'Fallon, MO police department issued a press release on Sunday morning stating they had arrested four suspects who are believed to have used the geo-location game to "add a beacon to a Pokéstop to lure more players," then robbing the players who turned up. Police recovered a handgun from the suspects. (If you don't know what beacons and Pokéstops are, just ask your kid, or your co-worker, or seemingly anyone on the planet.)

Similar incidents have occurred in Philadelphia, according to the local police department's 35th district.

While this all has a decidedly "news of the weird" feel, players should probably take it seriously. Be safe, and don't forget the "reality" half of "augmented reality."

We've reached out to police and @PokemonGOChi admins for details, and will update this post when we hear back.

Update 4:30 p.m.: The sergeant in the Area Central Detective Division is unaware of any such incidents being reported in the First or 18th Districts—which encompass downtown, police said. But they will monitor incoming cases "for similarities with the reported Pokémon GO robberies."