SAN LUIS OBISPO (AP) — The addictive cellphone game “Pokémon Go” has led people to unlikely places to collect digital monsters — including the gates of a Central California ranch that houses alcoholics and sex offenders.
The location-based game has a “Pokestop” at the outdoor sign for Sunny Acres, a 72-acre ranch in San Luis Obispo that includes a sober-living facility where 35 people live, according to KSBY-TV.
“We have some criminals, we have some alcoholics, we have drug addicts, we have mentally ill, there are some sex offenders, yes,” Sunny Acres founder Dan De Vaul told the station.
“I have no idea what Pokémon is,” he said. “I have no idea who put the stop – if it was sabotage – because we don’t want kids showing up here.”
If children visit the property, some sex offenders living there might be placed at risk of being sent back to prison for violating conditions of their probation or parole, De Vaul said.
“Pokémon Go” is an augmented-reality game that makes digital monsters of various kinds pop up on players’ cellphones along routes where they are walking or driving. The object is to “catch” the beasts. Some places are designated as “Pokestops,” where players can stock up on digital items, and “gyms” where the collected monsters can be used in digital battles.
Using digitized maps, gamers can see the location of monsters, Pokestops and gyms as far as a few blocks away.
It was not immediately clear how “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic Inc. chose the locations.
Niantic’s support page has an online request form where players can ask for removal of a location. But it is not guaranteed.
De Vaul said his property also has a thrift store, a strawberry stand, a pumpkin patch and a Christmas tree farm and closing the gates to keep out “Pokemon Go” players would deprive him of income.
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