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Anyone who, like myself, spent the majority of their weekend prowling about their imminent environment in search of Pokémon will likely tell you how awesome the all-new augmented reality-based Pokémon GO game really is.
And while the latest, most realistic installment in the Pokémon franchise is definitely a load of fun in the sun (quite literally, depending on your geographical location), the sentiment that every rose has its thorn definitely applies to the hot new AR gaming experience from Nintendo and Niantic Labs.
Indeed, even the most seemingly wonderful things among us are not without their faults; and apparently, according to authorities in Missouri, even the beloved new Pokémon GO was taken advantage of by evil-inclined perpetrators over the weekend.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Sgt. Bill Stringer of the O’Fallen Missouri Police Department reported that a group of 4 teenagers were apprehended over the weekend after they allegedly robbed an unsuspecting 33-year-old man. And, strangely enough, according to police reports, the group reportedly targeted the victim by stalking him using Pokémon GO.
Pokémon GO is largely premised around the concept of “Pokéstops” — monuments or nearby places of interest that users have to navigate to in order to capture Pokémon, collect points, power-ups, etc. However, the game also features what’s known as a “Lure Mode” — which, when enabled, attracts any nearby Pokémon to that Pokéstop.
Therefore, in other words, Lure Mode is effectively an open invitation for other nearby players to navigate to that Pokéstop and collect the treasure trove of points and creatures as well.
The overall gist of these allegations is that the suspects somehow figured out a way to utilize a combination of these aforementioned features to lure potential, unsuspecting victims to that location — prior to robbing them.
“Using the geolocation feature of the ‘Pokémon Go’ app, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims,” Stringer indicated in a press release.
Stringer also indicated that, as of Sunday afternoon, three of the suspects — 17-year old Brett William Miller, and 18-year olds ‘Jamine’ James D. Warner and Shane Michael Backer — had been brought into police custody, and now face charges of robbery in the first degree, as well as armed criminal action.
The fourth suspect, who’s name was withheld due to the fact that he’s still a minor, could also face charges of some sort — however, exactly what kind of charges that minor could face are still unknown.
Authorities also believe that these same suspects may have committed as many as eight similar robberies over the course of the last few days, however those reports are still being investigated.
Stringer also warned that parents of teens or minors who’re actively playing Pokémon GO should be aware if their kids are sharing their location with the world, as doing so could have potentially devastating consequences.
“Parents need to be aware of the situation. The potential for taking something that’s benign and making it nefarious is obviously there,” Stringer said.
So the moral of the story is: be careful out there, fellow Pokémasters in the flesh — and always keep your guard up as an extra safety precaution.
Have you gotten into the new Pokémon GO game yet? Let us know in the comments! And be safe out there, friends!