Man Playing 'Pokemon Go' Drives Into Tree: NY Police
An upstate driver didn't listen to warnings about playing "Pokemon Go" behind the wheel. Police in Auburn, New York, say the driver admitted he was playing the game on his phone while driving when he drove off the road and hit a tree. He wasn't seriously injured.
Police issue warnings for Pokemon Go players after multiple robberies
POSTED 6:09 PM, JULY 11, 2016, BY ANDREW RAMOS, UPDATED AT 06:53PM, JULY 11, 2016
NEW YORK — It’s a virtual and addicting scavenger hunt game that’s taking the country by storm.
Pokémon Go! uses your phone’s GPS to detect where you are in the game, making Pokémon characters appear in your real world so you could catch and collect them.
Released just last week, it’s already become one of the biggest apps on the planet, more popular than Tinder and it’s closing in on Twitter.
“Pokémon Go! is kind of a wish fulfillment type of thing for millennial,” explained Cecilia D'Anastasio, staff writer for Kotaku. “This was something that we wanted when we were young and now we can finally have it – we can finally see Pokémon in our environment.”
From Union Square to outside the Nintendo store in Midtown, nearly every person PIX11 cameras bumped into was in a Pokémon trance.
“I think it's really fun because it does encourage you to go outside more and walk around more and find new things,” Lauren Hancock, a teen visiting from Florida told PIX11 News.
“I currently live in Queens and I came all the way to 42nd Street to catch Pokémon,” said teen Nelson Tejada.
Despite a clear warning to be careful and mindful of your surroundings, some players are getting too caught up in the game. In some cases, they’re walking right into trouble.
Police in St. Louis say four men used the popular game to lure players by adding a beacon near a “Poke-stop” which in the game is basically a prominent landmark.
They later robbed the players at the location.
A Wyoming teen who told police she was trying to “get a water Pokémon,” ended up stumbling across a dead body in the big wind river.
The incidents have prompted police departments across the country including the NYPD and Park Ridge Police in New Jersey to issue warnings, urging players to be more vigilant.
Sex offender caught playing Pokemon Go with boy outside courthouse
POSTED 11:48 AM, JULY 14, 2016, BY TRIBUNE MEDIA WIRE, UPDATED AT 11:54AM, JULY 14, 2016
GREENFIELD, Ind. – A registered sex offender was arrested Wednesday for playing Pokemon Go with children outside the Hancock County Courthouse in Indiana.
The popular augmented reality has established the courthouse as a Pokestop in Greenfield, one of several sites that draws players in. There, a probation officer spotted Randy Zuick, 42, playing the game with a 16-year-old boy, police told WXIN.
Playing with the teen violated the terms of a plea agreement Zuick agreed to three months ago in a child molestation case. He pleaded guilty to a Level 4 felony charge of child molesting for fondling a child under 14 and remains on sex-offender probation, which prohibits him from interacting with children, court records say.
Zuick will likely face a judge Thursday, who will decide whether to revoke his probation and send him back to jail.
This incident is one of many drawing concerns about the safety of the hyped Pokemon Go app.
Holocaust Museum, 9/11 Memorial among controversial places attracting Pokemon Go players
POSTED 2:23 PM, JULY 12, 2016, BY TRIBUNE MEDIA WIRE, KIRSTIN COLE AND KRISTINA BEHR, UPDATED AT 08:08AM, JULY 13, 2016
NEW YORK — Pokemon Go is taking the nation by storm, and attracting thousands to roam about while playing the game — even at controversial spots such as New York's 9/11 Memorial and Washington D.C.’s United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The Holocaust Museum is a 'PokeStop' in the game where players can get free in-game items, and according to several reports, gamers have also been led to the Memorial's twin reflecting pools that honor the fallen towers and nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
PIX11 has reached out for comment from the 9/11 Memorial. Officials could not immediately be reached.
At the Holocaust Museum, there are actually three different PokeStops associated with various parts of the museum, according to the Washington Post.
The game seems disrespectful, especially in more solemn parts of the complex like the Hall of Remembrance, museum communications director Andrew Hollinger told The Post.
"We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game," Hollinger said.
On Monday afternoon, there were plenty of people inside the museum who seemed to be distracted from its haunting exhibits as they tried to "catch 'em all."
A player even used a lure module, a beacon that attracts Pokemon to a specific PokeStop, on the museum's marker — making double-headed bird-like creatures dubbed Doduos and rodent-like Rattatas practically swarm on users' screens.
The player behind the lure, a 30-year-old visiting from North Carolina named Dustin who declined to share his last name with The Post for privacy reasons, was excited to catch a crustacean-like Krabby while waiting in the museum's lobby with a group of friends to pick up tickets for a scheduled tour of the exhibits.
Police: Man robbed of cellphone while playing ‘Pokemon Go’
POSTED 3:46 AM, JULY 14, 2016, BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
LAKE RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — Police on Long Island are investigating an armed robbery in which they say a cellphone was stolen from a man playing the popular “Pokemon Go” game on his smartphone.
Suffolk County police say the 19-year-old man was walking in Lake Ronkonkoma while playing the game Wednesday evening when a car with at least three people pulled up alongside him.
Police say one of the passengers told the victim to give him his cellphone. When the victim hesitated, another passenger showed him a gun and demanded the phone. The victim then handed over the phone and took off.
No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing.
Police across the country are urging Pokemon players to use caution and always pay attention to their surroundings.
Pokemon players are trespassing, risking arrest or worse
BEATRIZ COSTA-LIMA and MARY HUDETZ July 13, 2016
A sign at the National Weather Service in Anchorage, Alaska, informs Pokemon players that it's illegal to trespass on federal property. The staff started noticing an uptick of people in the parking lot after the location was included as a gym in the popular game.
PHOENIX (AP) — The "Pokemon Go" craze across the U.S. has people wandering into yards, driveways, cemeteries and even an off-limits police parking lot in search of cartoon monsters, prompting warnings that trespassers could get arrested or worse, especially if they cross paths with an armed property owner.
Since the release of the smartphone game last week, police have gotten a flurry of calls from residents about possible burglars or other strangers prowling the neighborhood.
So far, few tickets have been issued, and there have been no reports of arrests or assaults on trespassers playing the game, whose object is use the phone's GPS technology to find and capture animated creatures in real-world places.
"Be careful where you chase these Pokemon — or whatever it is you chase — because we have seen issues in other places with people going onto private property where a property owner didn't want them on there," said Assistant Police Chief Jim McLean in Pflugerville, Texas.
Some players have expressed worries on social media that the game could result in a fearful property owner pulling a gun — a scenario that could fall into a legal gray area in the nearly two dozen states with "stand your ground" laws that allow people wide latitude to use deadly force when they believe they are in danger.
McLean's department posted a Facebook warning Monday after officers spotted a man playing the game in a section of a police parking lot where the public isn't allowed. The player had to pass keep-out signs and go over a fence or under a gate to reach the area.
"I'm not sure how he got back there, but it was clear what he was doing," McLean said. "He was playing a Pokemon game with his phone up in the air."
In Utah, Ethan Goodwin, 17, of Tremonton, was slapped with a trespassing ticket that he worries could cost him up to $200 after he and a couple of friends went on an early morning Pokemon chase at an abandoned grain silo. He managed to catch three creatures.
"I wouldn't say it was worth it, but I would say I'm glad I have the Pokemon I have now," he joked. He added: "It's a dumb game, really, really stupid."
Every time the app is opened, a warning from game maker Niantic pops up, telling players to be aware of their surroundings. Players must also agree to fine print saying they cannot enter private property without permission.
There's also a disclaimer that says Niantic is not liable for any property damage, injuries or deaths that result while playing.
But those warnings don't seem to be getting through.
In Phoenix, police have started posting humorous and colorful warnings on social media, saying chasing the orange dragon Charizard is not a valid reason to set foot on someone else's property.
Nor is chasing the cat-like Mewtwo, according to Boise, Idaho, police. They posted a Facebook message saying officers responded to several calls about players trespassing on private property and illegally trekking across parks after dark.
Gamers are also being warned to watch for traffic while playing and not to drive while on the app.
One woman told WPXI-TV in western Pennsylvania that her 15-year-old daughter was hit by a car while playing the game and crossing a busy highway. The girl was hospitalized with an injured collarbone and foot, as well as cuts and bruises, said her mother, Tracy Nolan.
Capt. Michael Fowler with the Hanahan, South Carolina, police said his department in the city of about 20,000 has gotten a few suspicious-activity reports related to "Pokemon Go," including multiple calls from a woman who feared for her safety as she watched cars go in and out of a church parking lot across from her house.
"I didn't know what was going on. The last time I heard about Pokemon was back in the '90s," Lynn Menges, 59, said.
Lt. Lex Bell, of the Unified Police Department in Utah, said officers outside Salt Lake City have responded to similar calls. Most come after dark, with residents saying they believe motorists driving slowly through their neighborhood may be casing their homes. In one instance, a woman mistook a few glowing cellphones for flashlights as players hunted characters near her daughter's car.
Several cemeteries, including Arlington National outside Washington, have expressed worries about players on their grounds.
At Mobile Memorial Gardens in Alabama, president Timothy Claiborne said he has seen visitors walking or driving around with phones in their hands, playing the game. He asked people in about three dozen vehicles to leave over the past couple of days, earning him the title "chief of the Pokemon patrol" from the staff.
"I just think we need to continue to have respect not only for the dead but for those who are grieving the dead," he said.