Pokémon Go is all the rage right now. So it should come as no surprise that the augmented-reality app is leading to a ton of arrests — but not for the reasons you may think. Here are the creative ways people are getting into trouble, all thanks to Pokémon:
1. Stabbing Someone When They Ask You to Battle
KPTV – FOX 12
When 21-year-old Michael Baker thought he ran into a fellow Pokémon enthusiast, he quickly found out otherwise when he was met with a knife to the shoulder. Baker told The Telegraph he was hunting Pokémon in Forest Grove, Oregon, at 1 a.m. when he encountered the other man and asked the suspect if he were up for a battle. After being stabbed, Baker called police but refused treatment because he wanted to catch more of the fictional creatures. “Right after I was stabbed, I continued my mission to Plaid Pantry for my mission for chips and beer,” he said. He later went to the hospital, however, and received eight stitches. No arrests were made in connection with the attack. “I basically risked my life,” he adds.
2. Robbing Distracted Pokémon Masters
Two men in Flint, Michigan, were robbed when playing the game early Wednesday morning. According to MLive, police say two suspects robbed the victims of cash and possessions at gunpoint. And four people in Alabama were arrested for also allegedly robbing a man at gunpoint while he played the game near a vacant building. U.S. News and World Report says the suspects are charged with first-degree robbery and third-degree assault.
3. Pokémon Go-ing and Driving (Bonus: Distracted Pedestrians)
Distracted driving is a problem at the best of times. And despite the game warning users to “stay alert,” an unfortunate few have still believed cars and Pokémon is a good mix. This week, Sydney police fined two teens who were browsing the game while driving near pedestrians. According to The Guardian, superintendent Wayne Murray says the pair were caught driving at alarmingly slow speeds and were each fined $325 and hit with four demerit points on their licenses.
And across the pond in New York, an ex-marine careened into a tree while allegedly attempting to catch a Lapras, a water-dwelling Pokémon which resembles the Loch Ness Monster. The Smoking Gun reports Steven Cary broke his ankle and sustained leg lacerations from the crash. Cops say he admitted to playing the app before losing control. He is expected to be cited for the one-car wreck.
But it’s also worth mentioning cases where distracted pedestrians got themselves in dangerous situations while playing the mobile game. A Pennsylvania mom claims her 15-year-old daughter was struck by a car as she crossed a major highway. According to WPXI, Autumn Diesroth is hospitalized with collarbone and foot injuries after the game placed Pokémon across the highway during 5 p.m. rush hour. Mother Tracy Nolan said, “Parents, don’t let your kids play this game because you don’t want to go through what I went through last night. I really thought I was losing my daughter.”
Others who should have paid attention to their surroundings: Two California men fell off a beachside cliff while playing, some British teens’ search for Pokémon got lost in caves and had to be rescued by a specialist mine rescue team, and one New Hampshire man was less than thrilled with the dead body he uncovered at a Pokéstop, a location where users can grab extra items and experience points.
4. Being a Sex Offender & Using the App to Lure Kids
Though experts have warned parents of the many dangers that come with the fun app, one rising concern is how sex offenders could leverage the app to take advantage of children. WGNTV reports that Randy Zuick, who was convicted of molesting a child under 14, was found playing Pokémon Go with a 16-year-old boy outside of an Indiana courthouse. Only a registered sex offender for three months, the 42-year-old violated the terms of his plea agreement which barred him from interacting with kids.
Another cause for concern is Pokéstops, randomized locations that give players a slew of perks. ABC13 reports that the app had Sunny Acres, a facility for alcoholics, drug addicts, and sex offenders, designated as a stop.
5. Breaking Into a Zoo to Get to Pokéstops
Though people are going to great lengths to capture Pokémon and Pokéstops, most haven’t put themselves in danger of a tiger attack. Robin Bartholomy and Adrian Crawford are facing criminal-trespassing charges for allegedly jumping the fence at Toledo Zoo at 2 a.m. KPTV reports officers caught the duo near a tiger exhibit. “I was just hanging out with my friend, we were playing Pokémon Go at Walbridge Park, and we were just like, ‘Hey, I got a crazy idea. Let’s jump the fence!'” Bartholomy explains. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Charizard, don’t break into people’s property to catch it.”
Main Photo: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr