Thieves using Pokémon Go to lure and rob players at gunpoint

Pokémon Go has the world obsessed, but players are urged to be cautious because criminals are using the popular app to lure victims and rob them at gunpoint.

So far, 11 Pokémon Go players have been robbed after thieves used the game to entice and trap their victims, police in the US state of Missouri said.

Pokémon Go has become the top grossing app in the iPhone app store just days after its Wednesday release in Australia, New Zealand and the US. Photo: Supplied/Mel Bleeder
Pokémon Go has become the top grossing app in the iPhone app store just days after its Wednesday release in Australia, New Zealand and the US. Photo: Supplied/Mel Bleeder
Pokémon Go allows players to capture, battle, train, and trade virtual Pokémon. Source: AP Photo/Richard Vogel
Pokémon Go allows players to capture, battle, train, and trade virtual Pokémon. Source: AP Photo/Richard Vogel

O’Fallon Police Department put out the warning on Facebook after the suspects, aged from 16 to 18, were found inside a vehicle while in possession of a handgun, shortly after responding to reports of an armed robbery.

The teenagers are allegedly responsible for multiple armed robberies both in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties.

Officers believe the thieves used bait to attract Pokémon to certain locations and then lured in unsuspecting fans to remote places such as empty parking lots to then rob them.

“The way we believe it was used is you can add a beacon to a pokestop to lure more players.

"Apparently they were using the app to locate ppl (sic) standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in,” the O’Fallon police department posted on Facebook.

Pokemon Go's loading screen. Picture: Screenshot/Washington Post- Bloomberg
Pokemon Go's loading screen. Picture: Screenshot/Washington Post- Bloomberg



Pokémon Go layers gameplay on to the physical world and has became wildly popular after its release last week.

The "augmented reality" game uses a smartphone’s camera and GPS to allow players to find, battle and capture Pokémon in real life.

Since the app's launch, Pokémon Go players have combatted some terrifying real-life experiences and some have suffered minor injuries after being too engaged with the virtual reality.

Countless photos have been shared on social media showing people out in public with their faces glued to their phones, presumably as they try to "catch 'em all".

Shayla Wiggins was playing Pokémon Go, an augmented-reality game when she found the dead body. Source: Facebook
Shayla Wiggins was playing Pokémon Go, an augmented-reality game when she found the dead body. Source: Facebook

One US teenager stumbled upon a dead body in a river upon trying to catch a Pikachu.

Shayla Wiggins, 19, discovered the body "while taking an early morning walk by Wind River to find some Pokémon," the US ABC reports.

"As I looked one way, I noticed that there was something in the water in front of me," the Wyoming resident told BuzzFeed.

Ms Wiggins then called 911 immediately and waited for police to arrive.

Mike Schultz shows injuries he received when he crashed his skateboard while playing Pokemon Go. Photo: AP
Mike Schultz shows injuries he received when he crashed his skateboard while playing Pokemon Go. Photo: AP
Lindsay Plunkett, a 23-year-old waitress in the US, tripped over a cinder block that had been used as a doorstop while playing Pokemon Go. Photo: AP
Lindsay Plunkett, a 23-year-old waitress in the US, tripped over a cinder block that had been used as a doorstop while playing Pokemon Go. Photo: AP

Mike Schultz, a 21-year-old communications graduate on Long Island, New York, had his eyes glued to his smartphone while cruising for critters, which caused him to fall off his skateboard.

He cut his hand on the footpath after hitting a big crack, and blames himself for going too slowly.

Northern Territory Police and emergency services have also release public notices after too many players walked into the precinct to catch Pokéballs because Darwin Police Station was listed as a Pokéstop.

NT Police put out a warning for
NT Police put out a warning for

The game was created by Niantic Inc, a San Francisco spinoff of Google parent Alphabet Inc that previously became known for a similar augmented-reality game called Ingress.

To play, you fire up the game and then start trekking to prominent local landmarks - represented in the game as "Pokestops" - where you can gather supplies such as Pokeballs.

Those are what you fling at online "pocket monsters," or Pokemon, to capture them for training.

At other locations called "gyms" - which may or may not be actual gyms in the real world - Pokemon battle one another for supremacy.

RELATED VIDEOS:

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting