Tech

Pokemon hunters being hunted; lured into armed robberies

Calling Nitendo’s Pokemon Go a rage would probably be the understatement of the decade. The augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic has helped the Wii U maker’s market value increase by over $7 billion. The app has already clocked more downloads (officially) than the dating app Tinder.

While the immensely popular game (Niantic’s servers have repeatedly crashed, prompting delay in launching the app in other countries) is only available in Australia, New Zealand and USA, unofficial downloads have been off the charts.

The game though has become a quickly favoured hunting ground for armed looters. Police in Missouri, USA has put out a statement warning citizens that armed robbers are using the game to lure victims to isolated traps.
At about 2am in O’Fallon, Missouri, Police officers responded to a robbery report that led them to four people, all local residents aged 16 to 18, in a black BMW in a parking lot. The occupants tried to discard a handgun out of the car when an officer approached, said Sergeant Bill Stringer. The officer then identified the four individuals as suspects of similar armed robberies described in St Louis and St Charles counties.

The adult suspects were charged with first degree robbery, a felony, and had bond set at $100,000 cash, Stringer said.

The Sergeant added that police believe the suspects used the phone app, which directs users to capture imaginary creatures superimposed onto the real world, to tempt players into secluded areas where they could be easily robbed. “Using the geolocation feature,” Stringer said, “the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims.”

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