Two Pokémon Go Players Catch An Attempted Murder Suspect Instead
For as many people who are joyously getting exercise, meeting new people and finding new local landmarks via Pokémon Go, there are just as many curmudgeons claiming the augmented reality game has no beneficial qualities. However, a pair of veterans enjoying a morning out catching Pokémon ended up capturing something else: a man wanted for attempted murder.
Javier Soch, 26, and Seth Ortega, 24, were collecting Pokémon on Tuesday at about 9 a.m. in downtown Fullerton, the L.A. Times reports. The pair are roommates and both served in the U.S. Marine Corps. They had been playing the game for about an hour, killing time before Ortega's class at Fullerton Community College, when Soch's game locked up near Pomona and Wilshire avenues. Distracted from his hunt to be the very best, the best there ever was—as the theme song goes—Soch looked up and spotted a strange man who seemed to be harassing a woman and her children. Ortega told the OC Register that the woman appeared to be rushing her children away from him, and that they later learned the man had been using a plastic flower to touch one of her sons. The two men went to talk to the man, who told them he was just looking for a smoke or a shelter. They advised him to try the police station.
The man then left, but grabbed the shoulders and chest area of the young son of a different woman as he walked by. The vets followed the man to the park, where the man had followed the woman and her two sons. There, they observed the man grab the boy's foot and leg. The first mother called the police and the two roommates helped detain the man until officers arrived, ABC 7 reports.
After learning the man's identity, which authorities have yet to release, they determined that he was actually wanted for attempted murder over in Sonoma County.
"When you think 'Pokémon Go,' the worst thing you think of is someone walking out in the street or bumping into a sign. Just definitely not expecting to find this guy," Ortega told the Register.
Soch told the Times that he'll continue to play the game, which offers lots of nostalgia for him as he played similar games in his youth, but he also believes that his time spent in the military helped him identify the possible threat.
"If I hadn't looked over to my left and seen this guy who looks out of place, I could have missed it. The best thing I can say: Remind yourself that you are not in the phone playing the game. Look around and be more aware," he said.
Update, 3:50 p.m.: Police have released the name of the suspect as Jacob Kells, 39. He was arrested on suspicion of child annoyance, a misdemeanor, City News Service reports. Authorities say Kells is also wanted on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assaulting and resisting a peace officer, possession of a stolen vehicle and felony evading causing great bodily injury.