With the massive, global success of Pokémon GO (and the innumerable young people its gotten out of the house to explore their cities), it goes without saying that ill-intentioned hooligans of the sometimes tame, sometimes not-so-tame persuasions might try to take advantage of all these new youngsters roaming the streets.
The newest case in this lengthening series of Pokémon-related terror took place less than 24 hours ago within the already-dangerous Central Park of New York City. What makes this incident stand out in particular (as well as make it all the more terrifying) is that the entire thing happened live on camera.
At exactly 12:13 a.m. (ET), next to the Sweeny Memorial Bench Pokéstop in New York City's Central Park, Twitch game streamer Rickey Yaneza—founder and editor of pop-culture and gossip site Rickey.org— was out on a nightly run to catch Pokémon together with his Twitch fans from all over the world.
With one phone recording himself and another phone recording all the Pokémon GO action on-screen, he was all set for a night of what should have been lighthearted, Pokémon-catching fun. In fact, he was in the middle of trying to catch a Seaking when this happened.
In the live-streamed video, a man appears from the left side of the screen and walks behind the blissful Poké-pack rat. All of a sudden, Rickey seems to be grabbed from behind and wrestled to the ground. We hear a series of grunts, then the assailant telling him to "take it off; let's go," followed by Rickey's pleading for the man not to take his gear. Once the assailant has Rickey's phones, he appears to flee the scene—we're forced to sit through an entire two minutes of darkness, heavy breathing, and wind noises—before the still-running screen recording app gives us a view of him rifling through the phones' settings and reseting them to their factory defaults.
Twitch users currently watching Rickey's channel had plenty of comments to make during the ongoing mugging. It begins with confusion:
Before leading into urges to record the video and call 911, and eventually culminating in users goading the assailant as he hurriedly factory-resets the phones.
A post made from Rickey's Twitter account a short while later updated his fans and viewers on the event:
Subsequent posts continued their updates by mentioning the police, the 24-hour suspension of his Twitch account, the injuries he incurred, and a shout-out to all of his supporters.
It was later confirmed by the New York Police Department's Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information, that Rickey did, indeed, report the assault and theft of his three smartphones at 12:19 a.m. that Monday morning. The report included observations of his condition, stating that he'd incurred small lacerations on the side of his head and a swollen cheek. At the time of this article, no arrest have been made, and the investigation is still on-going, but as for Rickey, he's trying to make the most out of a shitty situation.
Be safe, GOers. Remember—that Pikachu, Aerodactyl, or Seaking will still be there tomorrow. You might not be. Always follow these common sense rules and keep your eyes on the road in front of you.