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Police: Don't let Pokémon get you mugged

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The Minneapolis PD believes that robbers are utilizing the Pokémon Go app's geolocation feature to take advantage of unsuspecting Pokémon trainers.

The department posted on Facebook Saturday warning individuals to stay safe while playing the game.

https://www.facebook.com/MinneapolisPoliceDepartment/photos/a.209478567515.176804.197191512515/10155136688662516/?type=3&theater

Police have seen a rise in calls of suspicious activity and received a few reports of players being robbed, according to the post.

Other local police departments have urged users to be careful while playing, stay aware of their surroundings, not to trespass on private property, and to watch out for traffic, said KTSP.

The police in Willmar – a town in Central MN – received a call about a suspicious individual on his phone in someone's backyard, reported the Star Tribune. The individual was just looking for Pokémon of course.

The Chisago County Sheriff's Office has also received reports of suspicious people who turn out to be Pokémon trainers, but they have had a different response to the game.

https://twitter.com/ChisagoCountySO/status/752269165516337154

https://twitter.com/ChisagoCountySO/status/752357149137743872

The officers started playing the game with residents themselves, even declaring July 11 as Pokémon Go Day in Rush City.

https://twitter.com/ChisagoCountySO/status/752383689296711680

https://twitter.com/ChisagoCountySO/status/752389326764335104

https://twitter.com/ChisagoCountySO/status/752682316279853056

https://twitter.com/ChisagoCountySO/status/752811033790525440

https://twitter.com/ChisagoCountySO/status/754092474650337280

The app has exploded with international popularity this summer. Therefore, Minnesota agencies are not the only ones issuing safety warnings or responding to calls related to the game.

The National Safety Council released a statement earlier this month urging Pokémon Go users to play with caution, adding that distracted walking has caused 11,000 injuries in the past decade.

"The Council urges gamers to consider safety over their scores before a life is lost. No race to 'capture' a cartoon monster is worth a life," said the statement.

The game is keeping officials from around the world on their toes. Here is a list of some recent Pokémon related incidents:

National:

  • Police in Missouri are investigating a series of robberies that targeted Pokémon Go players, according to Mashable. The outlet says three teenage boys are being charged for robbery in the first degree, describing their actions as "Pokémon Go-related crimes."
  • In Baltimore, Maryland, a man was playing the game while driving and accidentally hit a police cruiser. "That's what I get for playing this dumb game," the driver said on video, according to KSTP.
  • A man in Delaware went over to a group of men he believed were also playing the game, who then assaulted and robbed him, reported the Delaware State News.
  • Two men in California were rescued by the fire department after they fell off a cliff looking for Pokémon, reports the Los Angeles Times. 
  • A Florida man opened fire on two teenagers who were sitting in a car playing the game outside of his home, said TIME.
  • The outlet also reported on a teenage girl in Pennsylvania who was hit by a car and hospitalized while trying to catch a Pokémon by crossing a busy freeway during rush hour.
  • The BBC  reported on a woman trying to catch Pokémon in New Jersey who had to be rescued from a tree in a cemetery.
  • Three teenagers in Ohio trespassed at nuclear power plant while playing the game, says The Guardian. Read more on that incident here.
  • A martial arts academy in Texas held a Pokémon Go safety seminar for parents and kids over the weekend, says KWTX.

International:

  • In Indonesia, police have been banned from playing Pokémon Go while on duty, says Mercury News. They also recently detained a Frenchman who trespassed on a military base looking for Pokémon.
  • In England, a group of 20 teenagers stole a boat to catch Pokémon in the middle of lake, according to BBC.
  • In Bosnia, players have been warned to be on the lookout for landmines while searching for Pokémon.
  • The Japanese government launched a safety campaign before the app's release there, says Mashable.

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