Sarasota Police urge Pokémon GO players to be cautious

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Pokémon GO is the surprising craze that is sweeping the nation. Since its release last Wednesday, the free mobile app game has become a phenomenon. R-BEST-POKEMAN-GO

The game uses the GPS on your phone to find out where you are, then adds Pokemon onto your phone screen. Players walking around malls, parks, marinas, and neighborhoods are trying to catch all the Pokemon, to be the very best like no one ever was.

Throughout Tampa Bay and all across the country, Pokémon masters are wandering through streets, parks and cities trying to catch them all.
‘If you wanna be the very best like no one ever was, you gotta catch em all! One player said, “I went to Largo Park and there was 100 plus people there [playing.]”

“I’ve been playing Pokemon since I was basically born,” said another player.

Many Pokémon masters are playing the game while they’re driving, collecting items and catching the pocket monsters while navigating the roads.

Police are worried it can lead to accidents.

Sarasota police on Monday tweeted a warning urging people to not play Pokémon while they’re driving!

“Hey we think it’s great you’re playing this game but please be careful, don’t Pokémon GO and drive. Make sure to stop first and then catch them,” Sarasota Police spokesperson Genevieve Judge said.

And they want players to stay safe too. This weekend, a group of alleged crooks in Missouri were arrested after they lured players with the app, and then robbed them at gunpoint. 

Amber Sandefur is well aware of the risks. So she stays vigilant.

“Very cautious. I’m not…never staring at my phone, I’m always looking around my area making sure wherever I am I am safe and I have people to spot for me as well so we are always alert,” said Amber, describing how she plays safe.

“Don’t just focus on your phone, focus on everything around you. Yes you might be finding one next to you but keep an eye out because you never know what’s around you,” she added.

It wise to search in public spots or in familiar areas.

“Most of the time I’m just walking around my neighborhood anyway, you find a bunch just in the neighborhood,” said player Stephen Beardsley.

And, please be cautious while looking at your phone. We’ve been hearing reports of people getting injured or walking into things when playing this game. Thankfully we’ve heard of nothing too serious or deadly, but we don’t want to report on that.

So as you train to be the greatest master of them all, please do it safely.


RELATED: Pokemon Go user trolls Westboro Baptist Church; church fights back

Watch News Channel 8 Monday at 5:30 p.m. to see what police have encountered when it comes to enthusiastic Pokemon GO players

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