Pokemon GO encourages people to explore the real world in search of Pokemon, but unfortunately, its blend of video games and real-life has seen the game associated with various crimes right from the get-go. It's true that crime stories tied to Pokemon GO have become less frequent since its height in the summer of 2016, but that doesn't mean they've ceased completely.
At 2am, 29 year old Jonathan Ortiz was in Beacon Meadows Park, which is located in the northern section of Tampa, Florida. Apparently, Ortiz was at the park so late at night so that he could play Pokemon GO, but Beacon Meadows Park officially closes at sunset. A sheriff's deputy noticed Ortiz playing the game after-hours, and upon approach, noted that he was openly using marijuana.
This led to a search of Ortiz's vehicle, where the sheriff's deputy discovered 3.5 grams of cocaine, 5.5 pounds of THC oil, and a pound of marijuana, according to local news channel WFLA.
This is far from the only crime story that's been associated with Pokemon GO since the game launched back in the summer of 2016. There were reports that armed robbers were using Pokemon GO to lure victims in Missouri, Marine Corps veterans apprehended an attempted murderer while out playing the game, a player stumbled upon a dead body, and more.
Some Pokemon GO crime stories stem from the game itself, with people taking it far too seriously. There have been multiple reports of Pokemon GO players being excessively protective of gyms, to the point of violence and police involvement. For example, there was one instance where Pokemon GO players were attacked with a tire iron by someone who was angry that they had taken a gym from him. And more recently, a confrontation over Pokemon GO gyms between two 50 year old men ended with the victim filing a restraining order against the aggressor.
The real-life elements of Pokemon GO are what make it special, but as has been clearly illustrated by these incidents, they with real-life risks as well. Luckily, there are precautions players can take to stay safe when playing Pokemon GO, like playing in groups and in well-lit public areas, for instance.