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Radford Arsenal warns players to stop hunting Pokémon on its property

Despite the game naming RAAF as a "pokestop," RAAF wants no part in the game.
Despite the game naming RAAF as a "pokestop," RAAF wants no part in the game. (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

RADFORD (WSLS 10) - Radford Army Ammunition Plant leaders are warning trespassers to stay away from federal property.

This warning comes despite the popular scavenger-hunt style app "Pokémon Go" luring players straight to the facility.

Despite the game naming RAAF as a "pokestop," RAAF wants no part in the game.
Despite the game naming RAAF as a "pokestop," RAAF wants no part in the game.

Leaders at RAAF say there are real and dangerous concerns that trump the game's goal to catch virtual rewards that according to reports include the coveted "Charizard" Pokémon that's allegedly been "hiding" in the rocket installation.

Anyone going into or coming out of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant must have clearance and although the facility is strictly closed to the public, so far this week they've had 23 reports of unwanted visitors saying they are stopping there near the visitors center to catch Pokémon.

Lt. Colonel Alicia Masson Masson says players have been coming to the iconic army rocket installation that stands outside of the guarded gates. But, the rocket is on federal property.

Gamers beware: trespassing on federal property could come with criminal charges, penalties that could far outweigh a rare virtual creature.

Masson says a post they've shared on facebook as reached more than 13,000 people.

The latest reports form research group Sensortower says that more than 15-million people have downloaded the mobile app game Pokémon Go.

But that latest craze is sending gamers to places they shouldn't go. Masson says the Radford Arsenal is one of those places.

"We've had in the low 20's so far of people asking, and some of them not asking, just walking right up and sort of inserting or referring that they are allowed to be there. Confusing federal property and public property on an ammunition plant is not a good thing," Masson said.

But in the game, the iconic rocket and other parts of the property have been deemed a rewarding "Pokéstop". A "Pokéstop" is a real life place that if clicked on in the game's map, will give valuable virtual pieces that helps players advance.

Masson says the guards at the gates are used to people making accidental turns on the road leading up their facility; but this is different.

"In this case, it's not only not accident, it's a challenge," Maason said.

A challenge she worries will attract the more than 50-thousand returning Virginia Tech and Radford University students to the RAAF property.

"Trespassing is not a good idea there, the Montgomery County Sherriff said.

Trespassers who are willing to risk it, will be prosecuted.

"We don't want to have to arrest someone who is chasing a charizard that they swear we are hiding from them. But those assertions are being made, that we are keeping them for ourselves. If it weren't serious…it would be funny," Masson said.

The commander says she has reached out to the developers of the app and asked that the Pokéstop be removed from their facility. WSLS 10 has reached out as well. So far, no response has been sent.

Masson says she wants to let gamers enjoy the game that lets them go outside, but she wants them to do it safely.


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