Hardcore Pokemon Go Players Are Becoming Easy Targets For Armed Robbers

You may have noticed that a bunch of kids or young adults have started running around your neighborhood perhaps looking a little suspicious (or at least preoccupied with their smartphones). They're not necessarily up to no good, they're probably caught up in the Pokemon Go craze, a new mobile app that uses augmented reality to encourage players to capture Pokemon characters. It's super popular, but if you plan to partake, be careful of your surroundings so you don't end up being robbed in real life.

The unfortunate side effect of Pokemon Go's immense popularity is that opportunistic armed robbers are catching players off guard as they wander into isolated areas. Police in O'Fallon, Missouri, posted a warning on Facebook giving citizens a heads up that four armed individuals in the St. Louis area used the app to target and rob victims in the past few days.

Pokemon Go

"This morning at approximately 2 am we responded to the report of an Armed Robbery near the intersection of Highway K and Feise Road. We were able to locate four suspects occupying a black BMW a short time later and recover a handgun. These suspects are suspected of multiple armed robberies both in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties. It is believed these suspects targeted their victims through the Pokemon Go smartphone application," the O'Fallon Missouri Police Department stated.

How is that possible? It's believed the robbers added a beacon to a Pokestop in the game to lure players to places like parking lots or wherever else they happened to be. As players excitedly check out the location, they become easy targets—nearly a dozen victims between the ages of 16 and 18 years old were robbed at gunpoint before the suspects were caught, Motherboard says.

There haven't been any reported robberies out of the aforementioned areas that are related to Pokemon Go, though we suspect this won't be the last of it. Bottom line—in your quest to catch them all, stay alert of your surroundings. And if you're new to the scene, be sure you're downloading the real thing and not a malware-laced copycat.

Pokemon Go is a free download for Android in Google Play and iOS in the App Store.