Since launching in the United States, New Zealand and Australia last week, Pokemon GO has already inspired a series of news stories that almost seem too wild to be true. Not only are players of the hugely popular augmented reality app hiring drivers to visit Pokestops when they just don’t feel like exploring on foot, but one Pokemon GO player played the game as his wife was giving birth. But, while these stories highlight some of the silliest examples of player behaviour, the news that two Pokemon GO players have helped to catch an attempted murderer is commendable.
On Tuesday, two Marine Corps veterans, Javier Soch and Seth Ortega, headed to downtown Fullerton, Calif. in order to catch more Pokemon in Pokemon GO. After playing the game for around an hour, Soch’s game crashed and when the veteran looked up, he saw that a man was harassing a woman and her three sons. The man asked for shelter or cigarettes and Ortega directed him to the nearby police station suggesting that the station may be able to point the man towards some resources.
After walking away, the man approached another mother and her two sons, wiping one of the boy’s chests with his hand, something which saw Ortega and Soch play close attention to the man while keeping their distance. The man then proceeded to follow the mother and her sons to a park and grabbed one of the boy’s feet – so Ortega escorted the man away as Soch stayed with the mothers and their children.
When the police arrived to detain the suspect for questioning and take witness statements, he was arrested for child annoyance. However, Fullerton Police Sgt. Kathryn Hamel says that investigators discovered that Sonoma County had a warrant out for his arrest for attempted murder, with police planning to extradite him. Although Pokemon GO wasn’t the sole reason why the man was taken into custody, Soch does say that “if I hadn’t looked over to my left and seen this guy who looks out of place, I could have missed it,” adding that “the best thing I can say: remind yourself that you are not in the phone playing the game. Look around and be more aware.”
While it’s certainly positive that this incident didn’t have any too-drastic outcomes, the same can’t be said for other Pokemon GO players who have had dealings with the law. One Pokemon GO player discovered a dead body, while other Pokemon GO players were targeted by armed robbers. As the game continues to be rolled out worldwide, hopefully players are able to stay safe and stay out of trouble.
Source: Los Angeles Times