US Using Pokemon GO To Lure Criminals To Police Station

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Pokemon GO has clearly taken the world by storm, and along with users like us, even police are getting in on the action. In Virginia, a police station is posting invites on its Facebook page to “random citizens” to try to catch a rare Pokemon in their processing room.

Using Pokemon GO to reach the community

It must be noted that no one in the game Pokemon GO has actually caught Ditto. Even police are not hoping to catch this rare Pokemon, but the real catch for sending invites is that their “random citizens” all have outstanding warrants. Sgt. Bryan Miller, administrator of the Smithfield Police Department’s page, told The Virginian Pilot that he thought of this while posting a list of eight people with outstanding warrants and decided to make it more exciting.

“I have a sense of humor,” he said. “I had no idea it was going to be this big.”

Miller said he was not expecting anyone to actually show up.

A Facebook post from the department reaches 5,000 users on a good day, but the Ditto one reached 45,000, Miller said. According to Miller, he aimed for two things with this whimsical post. The first is to engage with the community, and the second is to hopefully get some leads on those who are wanted on charges ranging from grand larceny to trespassing.

Some even fell for it

“The rarest Pokemon of all has been spotted in the Smithfield Police Department processing room: Ditto! Since it so rare we can only allow a limited number of people in the building to capture it. We put the mainframe computer in the basement to work and came up with a list of random citizens eligible for this rare opportunity. If your name is on the list below, you are one of the lucky folks invited to come to the Police Department for the capture,” reads the invite from Smithfield Police Department.

One Facebook user who didn’t get the joke, posted, “What can I do to get on this list?” To this, another user replied, “Commit a felony, that’s a great start.”

Using the Pokemon GO post, Miller didn’t expect to clear the outstanding warrants list, but he would surely not turn away any of the listed players if they show up to catch the purple Pokémon. In the processing room, Miller says he has some handcuffs waiting for them just in case.

Not the first time

Since the release of Pokemon GO, this is not the first time something like this has happened. Police in New Hampshire did the same two weeks ago with another rare Pokemon: Charizard.

One may think that it’s very unlikely for someone from the police-prepared list to actually come forward, but police have already caught one criminal with help from Pokemon GO. In Detroit, a man went to a local police station to play, but unfortunately for him, he was recognized as someone with an arrest warrant. In the game, the police station was a gym.

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About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at

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