The good, the bad and the weird: Mayhem and meet-ups after 'Pokemon Go' release
By Daniel Funke
Jul 13, 2016 | 11:45 AM
With the success of "Pokemon Go," we set out to discover if any of the little monsters were hiding within the walls of our own L.A. Times newsroom.
Thousands of people took to the streets this week with their noses buried in smartphones, searching for virtual Pokemon in a hugely popular new smartphone app. But for some users, the augmented reality game got a little too real.
Hours after the release of “Pokemon Go,” the latest installment in Nintendo’s 1990s franchise, reports of mishaps began cropping up. Some players have been robbed and stabbed, while others have helped catch criminals. Here are some of the most notable stories from the past week, covering everything from carjackings to Pokestop meet-ups.
Attempted murder suspect caught. Two former Marines helped nab an attempted murder suspect Tuesday while hunting for Pokemon in downtown Fullerton. They found the man bothering children at a playground and called the police.
Nintendo stock rises. The video game company’s market value increased by $7.5 billion after the release of “Pokemon Go.” By Monday, the game had more downloads than Tinder and was close to having more daily active users on Android devices than Twitter.
Players flock to bookstores and libraries. Some booksellers have seen an increase in foot traffic because of the game, according to reports. Some locations are close to “PokeGyms,” where users train their Pokemon for battle, while others are popular for catching new creatures.
Two men robbed and carjacked. A gunman approached two men Sunday while they were playing “Pokemon Go” in Antelope, Calif., northeast of Sacramento. He took the men’s cellphones and cash and drove away in one of their cars.
Man stabbed in Oregon. Reports surfaced Tuesday of a man who was attacked while playing the game on his cellphone.
Teen siblings robbed. A man snatched a smartphone that two teenagers were using to catch Pokemon in San Francisco on Sunday. He fled in a waiting car.
Sober-living facility listed as Pokestop. A Central California sober-living facility that houses released sex offenders is designated as a Pokestop on “Pokemon Go” — a place for players to gather and collect virtual items. So far, no users have visited the 72-acre ranch.
Teens use game for robberies. Missouri police said that four teenagers used “Pokemon Go” to lure and rob unsuspecting players at a spot just outside St. Louis. The suspects, ages 16 to 18, were arrested Sunday.
Two men fall off cliff. In North San Diego County, two men fell off an ocean bluff Wednesday while playing “Pokemon Go.” Both were taken to trauma centers and suffered moderate injuries.
Hundreds meet in Santa Monica. Pokemon fans gathered at the Santa Monica Pier on Monday looking for the franchise’s key character — Pikachu. Some walked around for hours trying to catch the fictional animal.
Dead body found. In a quest to find more Pokemon, a teenager found a dead body in a river in Wyoming.
L.A. Metro creates Twitter account. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority joined the “Pokemon Go” craze this week by creating a separate Twitter account dedicated to the game. @PokemonGOMetro gives users tips on where to capture new Pokemon at stops or inside trains.
Police issue advisory. Law enforcement officers in Duvall, Wash., located northeast of Seattle, released a statement about “Pokemon Go” players crowding the Police Department. “We have had some people playing the game behind the PD, in the dark, popping out of bushes, etc. This is high on our list of things that are not cool right now,” police cautioned, albeit tongue in cheek.
Players find real animals. Some people have encountered actual creatures during their hunt for virtual Pokemon. Scientists and history buffs are embracing the game.
Chinese create knockoff. In an effort to play “Pokemon Go,” which is available only in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Germany, people in China have been downloading the app from third-party websites or buying it via overseas stores. They’ve also created a knockoff version called “City Spirit Go” that duplicates some of the game’s features.