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In less than one week since its release in the U.S., Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game that is played on smartphones and in the real world, is changing how we live. Even if you don't play at catching imaginary Japanese video game characters in the world, you will be dealing with players running around all over town and maybe on your property.
If you're playing, try not to commit any crimes. Also, beware of unknown Pokestops, where you might become a victim. The game has already been blamed for contributing to rising crime rates. Certainly, police have had much to say about it.
Police departments all over the nation are issuing warnings to players not to trespass on private property in an effort to catch Pokemon. They are also using social media to remind players to keep their head up, rather than in their phones, while playing on the streets and on the roads.
Meanwhile, the first Pokemon Go robberies, involving four youths enticing other players, already took place. The robberies, four of them, were reported by the O'Fallon Missouri Police Department, warning residents that four individuals in a black BMW were luring players into a parking lot using a beacon that attracts Pokemon.
The beacon was used to attract other players, also eager to catch the Pokemon. Instead, they got caught up in a robbery. The young men reportedly robbed eight people but were apprehended, reports Rolling Stone. According to one of the alleged victims posting on Snopes.com, the robbers lured players to "a slightly out of the way Pokestop" in a dark alley.
More to Come?
The Missouri robberies happened on the first weekend of the game's release and police and authorities anticipate more trouble. That is likely why the Los Angeles Times writes that "police fear the dark side of Pokemon Go."
Or, in the words of Rolling Stone, "Perhaps it's only a matter of time before the real problems with Pokemon Go arrive. With the app leading downloads for iPhones and Androids, and active users approaching mobile Twitter levels, clever players might soon learn how to use the game to devious ends."
If you are charged with a crime while trying to catch 'em all or in any other context, talk to a lawyer. Get help. Many criminal defense attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.