Pokemon craze hits the Rogue Valley

Medford, Ore. — A craze from the 90’s is making a comeback in a big way as Pokemon Go takes over America’s smartphones.

The free mobile game is number one in the Apple app store. It uses your phone’s GPS to lead you on a scavenger hunt for the monsters by detecting where you are, then making Pokemon appear nearby so you can catch them.

For 27-year-old Medford man Joshua Burk it’s a childhood dream come true. He spent his Monday morning hunting Pokemon.

“It’s nostalgic for me. I was a huge fan when I was a little kid,” he said. “I’ve been away from it for years so it’s fun because it has the same original monsters.”

Burk is just one of the millions of people who have downloaded the game. But law enforcement officials across the country say the fantasy game is causing some real world problems.

Oregon State Police Sergeant Jeff Proulx said he hasn’t received any reports of crimes linked to Pokemon Go, but police in both Nebraska and Missouri said the app helped robbers take advantage of victims.

“Even though it’s an app and it’s supposed to be fun we still have people out there who will take advantage of the situation,” Proulx said.

Proulx said if you’re distracted you become an easy target for thieves. And the risks become more serious if you play behind the wheel. Washington State Department of Transportation sent out this warning on Twitter: “If your weekend includes looking for Eevee on Pokemon Go please do so safely. No pokemoning from behind the wheel.”

Proulx said if you download the game just make sure to be aware of your surroundings while you play it.


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