In North San Diego County in California Wednesday, two men fell off a bluff while playing the Pokémon Go smartphone game. Sgt. Rich Eaton of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said he thinks people need to realize this is just a game. "It's not worth your life. No game is worth your life."
Firefighters rescued the two men, who fell several stories off the crumbling sandstone bluff in Encinitas, according to authorities. The men, who were in their early 20s, likely were led to the cliff when they were trying to catch characters, said Eaton.
One man fell 75 to 100 feet. As firefighters rescued the man, they found the second man unconscious 50 feet down the bluff, said Battalion Chief Robbie Ford of the Encinitas Fire Department. Both were taken to area trauma centers and suffered moderate injuries, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The men, according to firefighters, had crossed a fenced area to get to the bluff.
Pokémon Go, a popular and GPS-enabled augmented reality game, sends players out into the real world to collect "pocket monsters" and then release them into combat against other players' monsters. The game is largely centered around gyms-locations where players battle for control and the bragging rights that come with it, reports The Daily Dot. Game locations range from neighborhood public parks and cemeteries to strip clubs, as well as the 9/11 Memorial Pool at Ground Zero in Manhattan.
In a separate incident in Anaheim Wednesday, a Pokémon Go player was stabbed multiple times by a group of men in a park. The victim, who was in his late 20s, was using the app in Schweitzer Park on the 200 block of Bel Air Street, when he encountered the group of men around 12:30 a.m., police said. Detectives told the Los Angeles Times they don't think the group lured the man to the park; they think he happened to run into them there.
In Missouri, the game was used by four teens in O'Fallon to lure nearly a dozen victims into armed robberies, police and media reports said on Monday.
"Using the geolocation feature of the Pokémon Go app, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims," O'Fallon, Mo., police Sergeant Bill Stringer said in a release.
"The Pokémon, graphics and sound effects are computer-generated, but seeing a Pikachu on the sidewalk in front of you is a fan's digital dream come true," Stringer said.
Kristen Carbone on the police Facebook page shared a description for those curious about the "beacon" being referring to in these robberies as the "bait". She stated: "A Pokéstop is a place in game (using real life locations) that has items for players. A player can choose to drop "bait" at a Pokéstop to lure more Pokémon. This will attract players because they can get a lot of Pokémon in a short amount of time. Needless to say, running around at 2 a.m. to catch Pokémon in unfamiliar areas probably isn't the smartest."
In other U.S. cities, people have shared incidents in which Pokémon Go players are leaving their vehicles in the middle of streets, causing accidents.