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Pokemon Go Players Targeted By Armed Robbers, Police Say

O'FALLON, Mo. (CBS/AP) – As users of the hottest new smartphone game Pokemon Go try to catch 'em all, police are warning players to watch their backs.

The "augmented reality" game, which layers gameplay onto the physical world, became the top grossing app in the iPhone app store just days after its Wednesday release in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Players already have reported wiping out in a variety of ways as they wander the real world — eyes glued to their smartphone screens — in search of digital monsters.

Related: Viral Photo Shows Pokemon Go Bringing Police, Young People Together

But in addition to tripping over sidewalks, walking into trees and wandering through busy intersections, authorities say there's also a risk of players becoming the targets of criminals.

In Missouri over the weekend, four young men charged with armed robbery are accused of using the Pokemon Go app to target their victims.

PRESS RELEASE UPDATE ON ARMED ROBBERY FROM 07-10-16. All three adult suspects involved in our Armed Robbery have been...

Posted by O'Fallon Missouri Police Department on Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Pokestops," where players can go to collect items like Pokeballs, are popular gathering spots in the game and in real life. That's where the suspects were waiting, police say.

"Apparently they were using the app to locate ppl standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in," the O'Fallon Police Department said. "If you use this app (or other similar type apps) or have children that do we ask you to please use caution when alerting strangers of your future location."

Police in Massachusetts are also getting wind of the app. Woburn Police Chief Robert Ferullo sent a tweet Sunday urging players to "make good decisions."

And in Northbridge, authorities are asking users to stay off private property, don't walk in the road while playing, and don't Pokemon Go and drive.

Yes this is a real facebook post and warning ! July 6th a new app/game (Pokemon Go) came out for iphones and Android...

Posted by Northbridge Police Department on Monday, July 11, 2016

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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