Armed Robbers Used 'Pokemon Go' App to Target Victims, According to Cops

The app has been a viral sensation since its release this week.

ByABC News
July 10, 2016, 2:23 PM

— -- A string of armed robberies that took place Saturday night in Missouri were perpetrated by suspects who targeted their victims using "Pokemon Go," a popular augmented reality game, according to police.

"This morning at approximately 2 am we responded to the report of an armed robbery near the intersection of Highway K and Feise Road," Missouri's O'Fallon Police Department said in a statement. "We were able to locate four suspects occupying a black BMW a short time later and recover a handgun. These suspects are suspected of multiple armed robberies both in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties. It is believed these suspects targeted their victims through the 'Pokemon Go' smartphone application."

O'Fallon Police Sgt. Robert Kendall told ABC News that his department did not have knowledge about all of the robberies committed by the suspects, but that a handgun was recovered, and that the department would be applying for warrants today of the four suspects in question.

"Nobody was hurt, and no shots were fired in ours," he said, referring to the robbery that took place in his jurisdiction.

O'Fallon Police said the perpetrators of the robberies used the game by adding "a beacon to a Pokestop," referring to an aspect of the game that enables users to lure additional players.

"Apparently they were using the app to locate [people] standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in," the statement said.

"Pokemon Go" has been a viral sensation since its release on July 6, and caused shares of Nintendo, the maker of the app, to leap 10 percent as its popularity spread, according to Yahoo Finance.

The title is now the No. 1 free app in Apple Inc's U.S. iTunes store, according to a chart maintained by the company.

The game uses "real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokemon," according to its website.