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Report: Armed Robbers In Missouri Used Pokémon Go To Lure Victims

by Elise Favis on Jul 10, 2016 at 01:22 PM

Update: Three of the four men have been formally charged with robbery in the 1st degree and armed criminal action. They are named Shane Michael Backer, 18, Brett William Miller, 17, and Jamine James D. Warner, 18.

Original Story (July 10, 3:14 p.m.):

According to a statement from the O'Fallon Missouri Police Department, four individuals have been using the augmented reality game Pokémon Go to commit armed robbery on unsuspecting players lured to specific areas.

The suspects, who are believed to have set up a series of these traps over the last few days in the St. Louis area and St. Charles Counties, have been apprehended and remain in custody. Their identities remain unknown to the public until a warrant is issued. The perpetrators were caught at 2 a.m. this morning, occupying a black BMW, and the police were able to recover a handgun. The police believe that the suspects added a beacon to a Pokéstop to hopefully lure players to the general vicinity. 

"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 Missouri P.D. says on their Facebook page. The police also issued a warning to the public in the statement, saying, "If you use this app (or other similar type apps) or have children that do we ask you to please use caution when alerting strangers of your future location."

[Source: O'Fallon Missouri Police Department Facebook Page Via Gizmodo]


Our Take
It doesn't surprise me that there are people out there that have found loopholes or ways to use this app for criminal activity -- it's a trend we see often with new technologies. However, this doesn't make this any less awful and disheartening, and I hope that the victims are recovering from these unfortunate events.