Robbers use Pokémon Go to target victims
The Pokémon Go app is a bit like a scavenger hunt, pinpointing on a map different Pokémon themed treasures and creatures you can find around you. The man who was robbed while playing this game Saturday night says he simply didn't notice he had walked into a trap.
It started as a late night cigarette run to this gas station. Even though it was 2 a.m., Nikolas Howard went to a stop with a lure on it because it was only a couple blocks away.
For two days, Howard had been tracking Pokémon on the app around the city. And he was so engrossed it in Saturday night, he didn't see what he was walking into.
The app led Howard to a parking lot near the intersection of Highway K and Feise Road, a popular checkpoint just across the street from a gas station.
That's when Howard noticed a black BMW pull in behind him.
"There were four kids inside. The kid in the back passenger seat had a silver pistol. He got out of the car and put it into my face, told me to 'lose my stuff'," said Howard.
Shane Backer, Brett Miller, and Jamine Warner have all been charged with first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. Their ages are 18,17, and 18 respectively. No word yet on whether the 16-year-old will face charges.
They're being held on a $100,000, cash-only bond.
Pokémon fans Nick and Ray almost stopped at the same site where the robbery occurred late Saturday night.
"We kept driving, it didn't seem safe," said Nick Nobles, Pokémon Go player.
And despite the risks, Howard and other players say they aren't abandoning their new hobby.
"Don't let this be an opportunity to live in fear. Let this be a reason for kids to start walking around with their parents again," said Raymond Roberson, Pokémon Go player.
"It's encouraged me to walk 12 miles in the last 36 hours. So I hope people like this don't discourage people from playing the game," said Howard.
Police said the four teens are also suspected in two other robberies. St. Louis police say the same four men robbed a couple at gunpoint Saturday night in Grand Center. And St. Charles County police say they match the description of the suspects from an attempted robbery in the St. Peters area Sunday morning.
O'Fallon police are warning people to be aware of their surroundings and for parents to know where their children are going.