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article imagePokémon Go used by Missouri robbers to find victims

By Arthur Weinreb     Jul 11, 2016 in Technology
Police in O'Fallon, Missouri say four teens have been arrested after 11 other teens were robbed. It is alleged the suspects used the game Pokémon Go to lure the victims to remote places and robbed them.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday, officers with the O'Fallon Police Department responded to an armed robbery call. They arrested four suspects who were sitting in a BMW and recovered a handgun. Stolen goods were also found in the vehicle.
Pokémon Go was released last week and has become extremely popular. The game allows players to use cameras on their smartphones and GPS to find Pokémon characters in real life.
Players are drawn to certain locations known as PokéStops. At PokéStops, players can obtain items such as Poké Balls that can be used to capture Pokémon.
According to the O'Fallon Police Department, the four suspects set up a beacon on the game to lure unsuspecting players to areas close to a PokéStop. Players, all of them teens and most of them alone, then went to these areas to get the items needed for the game. The victims were then robbed of their phones and other valuables.
Sgt. Bill Stringer told the New York Daily News the suspects admitted they used the app to draw their victims to remote locations such as empty parking lots. He said the victims were staring at their phones during the game and not really paying attention to the surrounding area.
The O'Fallon Police Department issued a statement asking people to pay attention when they alert strangers to where they are going to be.
According to the O'Fallon PD, three of the suspects are adults and are charged with armed robbery and armed criminal action. They have been transferred to the St. Charles Department of Corrections and are being held cash only $100,000 bonds. The juvenile was transferred to the St. Charles Juvenile Justice Center.
After the arrests were made, the Pokémon Company International and Niantic, Inc. issued a statement. The statement reminded players to be mindful of their surroundings and suggested people play with friends when going to unfamiliar areas.
The companies also said they were humbled by the response to Pokémon Go and thanked fans for their support.
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