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Man assaulted, robbed in Towson while playing Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go, a mobile game, is displayed on a smart phone.
Pokemon Go, a mobile game, is displayed on a smart phone. (Richard Vogel / AP)

A 19-year-old Carroll County man was attacked from behind, repeatedly punched and kicked and robbed by three suspects as he played Pokemon Go while walking near downtown Towson's Historic Courthouse, in Patriot Plaza, July 13. The assailants stole the man's cell phone, Baltimore County police said.

The man was transported to a local hospital, Elise Armacost, the county police department's director of public affairs, stated in a July 21 email, adding that the incident, which occurred at around 11:45 p.m., remains under investigation. Police did not provide the name of the hospital to which the victim was transported.

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Pokemon Go, a smartphone game largely spurred by the nostalgia of young adults, has been at the center of several robberies and other crimes in the Baltimore area recently. As part of the game's design, Pokemon characters can be captured at different locations and time of day. Players using the game at night have a better chance at capturing what are known as nocturnal Pokemon. While the game warns players to be aware of their surroundings, criminals have taken advantage of players wandering while playing the game on their phones.

A driver was playing Pokemon Go when he sideswiped a parked Baltimore City patrol car on July 18, police said. (Baltimore City Police video)

On July 12, three people were robbed at gunpoint while playing the game in Parkville. Playing after midnight near Belmont Park, the people were approached by two suspects, one of whom displayed a handgun, county police said. The suspects took the players' cell phones and money before fleeing. No one was injured.

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On that same night, four people were robbed at gunpoint by a lone man on the University of Maryland, College Park campus. Police responded to a call at around 9:20 p.m. near Tydings Hall, and another call at 10 p.m. near Queen Anne's Hall. Three of the four victims were playing Pokemon Go. None of the victims were injured, and police are still looking for the suspect.

Early Monday morning, a man driving near Patterson Park while playing Pokemon Go sideswiped a Baltimore City police cruiser. In a video captured on an officer's body camera, the driver stepped out of his vehicle and immediately took responsibility for the accident.

No one was injured in the incident, and Baltimore police said they are working to determine charges against the driver.

Armacost recommended that players follow several safety tips posted on the Baltimore County website, with the number one tip encouraging players to be aware of their surroundings and stay in well-lit, populated areas. The website is www.baltimorecounty.md.gov. .

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