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Pokemon GO craze prompts police step up safety warnings

Pokemon GO is proving addictive for gamers in both hemispheres, as this tweet attests.

So much so that, since the mobile app was launched in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand on July 6, players have found themselves in bizarre, and dangerous, situations while trying to catch the elusive characters.

In Wyoming, a 19-year-old girl reportedly found a body floating in the local river as she hunted a character, while in Missouri, four people were charged with armed robbery after targeting their victims through the game.

"Using the geolocation feature of the Pokemon Go app, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims," O'Fallon police Sergeant Bill Stringer said in a release, according to Reuters.

And The Oregonian reported on Monday that a man had been stabbed by a passerby in the street as the victim walked while playing Pokemon GO on his phone.

"The victim refused medical treatment and continued his Pokémon hunt," the newspaper wrote.

Plenty of others have reported more minor Pokemon-related troubles, as players leave no stone, however scary or dirty, unturned in the augmented reality game.


New Zealand media reported that local gamers visited the headquarters of Hells Angels in Whanganui after the building became a "PokeStop," where users could collect supplies used in the game. The man who answered the gate at the Hells Angels clubhouse did not know what Pokémon GO was and told players to "go talk to the police," according to the New Zealand Herald on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, where the game has yet to be released, an Australian man was fired for posting hateful comments on Facebook about the country's lack of access to Pokemon GO.

(The app is reportedly launching in Europe and Asia in the next few days.)

The global Pokemon GO frenzy has prompted officials in the first three countries to get the app to warn players about potential accidents that could be caused by over-enthusiastic gaming.

In Queensland, Australia, police warned that "collecting Pokemon" was not a legal defense.

While in Western Australia, police put together two global obsessions to get the message across.

The Pokemon Company,which is part-owned by long-time game-maker Nintendo, and its Pokemon GO partner Ninantic, told Reuters in a statement, "We encourage all people playing Pokemon Go to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends when going to new or unfamiliar places."

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