Augmented reality game Pokemon Go has inadvertently led users down disturbing paths less than a week after its launch.
On July 8, a teenager in Wyoming was hunting for a Pokemon on a riverbank, but discovered a man’s corpse instead. Police have said the death “appears to be accidental” and the teenager, 19-year-old Shayla Wiggens, told CNN that she’ll continue to hunt for water Pokemon.
Two days later, on July 10, robbers reportedly used Pokemon Go to lure victims to a remote area and rob them at gunpoint.
Police in O’Fallon, Missouri, responded to a report of an armed robbery at 2am, according to an update on the police department’s Facebook page. Having found the suspects and their handgun, the police linked the suspects to a series of earlier robberies which they believe all used Pokemon Go to lure players into their trap.
The smartphone game, which lets players hunt for virtual items in the real world, allows players to meet up and form teams.
“Using the geolocation feature the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims,” said Sgt Bill Stringer.
Pokemon Go has been described as a “digital dream come true” and, shortly after it was released on Tuesday (July 5), it became the most downloaded free app in the US iTunes store.
But crime scenes aside, the game is also causing problems for players who are so engrossed in the hunt for virtual animals that they forget to pay attention to their surroundings. One reddit user said he had to go to the emergency room less than half an hour after the game was released, after he fell into a ditch and fractured a bone while playing. He said he told doctors he was walking his dog, rather than admitting he was on a mission to catch ‘em all.