It’s been just over a month now since Niantic’s augmented reality app, Pokémon Go, was first released. Pokémon Go has been appearing regularly in tabloid articles throughout the world, and while many of these stories have highlighted the success of Niantic’s app, others have shown us how insane some people can be when it comes to hunting down fictional creatures.
In only a short time, Pokémon Go has been linked to robberies, trespassing and even murders. Other people have left full-time jobs just so they could play more regularly, and a wanted criminal has even been caught, thanks to two men who discovered the felon while playing the game. These are just a handful of some of the most insane Pokémon Go stories so far, and we’ve rounded up some of the weirdest, most insane stories so far:
‘Pokemon Go’ is helping local businesses make money
Thanks to the success of Pokémon Go, many businesses are now using the app to entice millennials into their premises. Pokéstops – pre-determined locations that players can visit to collect Pokéballs and other items – are being used by business owners to help sell their products.
By purchasing lure modules and placing them at the Pokéstop, Manager Sean Bedennti saw food and drinks sales increase by 30%, after spending $10 on them at his Pizzeria, L’inzio’s, in Queens. Lure modules encourage nearby Pokémon to gather at the location. The effect lasts for 30 minutes, which is plenty of time to grab a quick drink or something to eat!
Players are kayaking to a gym in the middle of the sea
Gyms are where players can test their Pokémon’s strength against other players. Like Pokéstops, many of these are historically significant locations, but unfortunately for players in Wellington, New Zealand, one of these gyms is the Oriental Bay Carter Fountain – situated out in sea and only accessible by boat, or a kayak, if you’re Kelsey Thomson or Lizzy Eden. These two actually rented a kayak in order to claim the gym. Let’s hope there are no actual sea battles as a result of future takeovers, though!
Politicians are getting engrossed in the app
Either in a desperate attempt to seem relevant or having fallen victim to the Pokémon phenomenon, politicians around the world seem hooked on the app. Two San Francisco-based candidates are embroiled in a mission to catch ‘em all, after politician Jane Kim publicly issued the challenge to competing candidate Scott Weiner over Twitter.
Elsewhere in the world, the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, posted a picture of a Meowth he had found in the presidential residence. Only time will tell if that Meowth evolves into a Persian and Rivlin starts acting more like Giovanni from the Pokémon anime series.
Two players helped police find a man wanted in an attempted murder case
In one of the most remarkable stories surrounding Pokémon Go reported by the LA Times, two former marines who were playing the game ended up helping police capture a man who was wanted for attempted murder – all without the help of Officer Jenny.
The two men became involved in a confrontation with the man when he started behaving suspiciously around a woman and her children. Police eventually arrived at the scene, and despite Jacob Kells being initially arrested for child annoyance, it turned out that he was also wanted for charges of an attempted murder, possession of a stolen vehicle and assault on a police officer.
Players are being banned from locations for inappropriate behavior
Unfortunately, some players are playing without thinking when it comes to respectful behavior. Some Pokéstops and gyms are appearing in cemeteries, and the majority of players aren’t thinking twice before venturing out there. Most recently, a graveyard in Wales has banned people who are found to be playing the game out of respect for the members of grieving families.
This certainly isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Shortly after the app was first released, officials at the Auschwitz memorial camp banned people playing the game after saying playing it there was “disrespectful on so many levels.”
A man got stabbed and carried on playing the game
If I got stabbed, I would like to think my immediate decision would be to seek help and get medical attention. I mean, that’s what most people would do – scratch that – any normal person would do, right? Apparently not. An Oregan man, Michael Bay (not the Michael Bay, though the story does sound like his behavior) was out playing at 1am in the morning (as one does) when another man walking in the area stabbed him.
Instead of realizing the severity of the issue, Michael made his way to a convenience store (as one does after being stabbed), telling his local paper: “Right after I was stabbed, I continued my mission to Plaid Pantry for my mission for chips and beer. I basically risked my life.” When police eventually arrived, Baker initially refused treatment, as he wanted to keep playing the game (as one does), but was taken to hospital – presumably against his own will – where he received eight stitches.
Bosnian players are being warned of landmines
A Bosnian de-mining group estimates that 120,000 undiscovered landmines lay dormant throughout Bosnia, which poses troubles for bidding Pokémon explorers. Many people playing the app are wandering into dangerous areas that could contain landmines, prompting an official warning from the Bosnian de-mining charity, Posavina Bez Mina, to Bosnian trainers.
Players would rather earn Pokecoins than real money
Following in the footsteps of New Zealand man Tom Currie, who famously quit his job to play the game full-time, Sophia Pedraza from High Barnet in London left her teaching job to play the game full time. Unlike Currie, she’s approaching the feat in a more business-minded way, intending to make real-life money from the game, as she says “It’s a big craze at the moment.”
Unfortunately, selling accounts via online sites such as eBay is against the rules of the app. On top of that, it takes a lot of time to level up in the app, and Sophia’s idea of buying multiple mobile phones to simultaneously level accounts seems pretty far-fetched, considering she earned roughly £2,000 a month through teaching.
In case you missed it, we answered your most burning ‘Pokémon Go’ questions.
- Words: Mat Ombler
- Lead image: Jakub Sochancki via Wikipedia