Since discussion of the game’s explosive popularity has largely taken place on the Internet, it stands to reason that there would be a fair number of unsubstantiated stories about terrible things happening to players right off the bat. While nobody did actually kill a child over a Pokemon or cause a traffic pileup by trying to catch one on the highway, there have actually been a number of instances where the game was tied, directly or indirectly, to criminal activity.
In perhaps the most widely reported incident, a Wyoming teenager found a man’s dead body while looking for a Pokestop. However, the man’s death appears to have been accidental, an underreported detail.
In a far more disturbing case, police in St. Louis County, Missouri, arrested four men on July 10, 2016—a mere four days after the game’s release—for essentially using it to locate people to rob. Players are able to place beacons to alert other players to landmarks, and these thieves were placing them near Pokestops to attract their victims.
The Pokemon Company addressed this quickly, issuing a statement urging players to play in groups when in unfamiliar places and to be alert to their surroundings. Police stations nationwide have taken note of this incident, which hopefully does not become a trend.