The craze for collecting Pokemon Go has taken an ugly twist in Ballarat, with a team of young fans being terrorised by a late night ram raid on their car.
The group of young people, who asked not to be named for their own safety, were finishing a Pokemon run about 3am Friday in Vickers Street, Sebastopol, when they noticed a Holden Commodore and a motorcycle revving their engines near where they were parked.
“We were unwinding, we were just about to finish up and they backed up the road, we thought they were going to hoon,” one of the group told The Courier.
“They turned into us, just kept nudging the car, so we drove off. Their left side hit our right side.”
The group member said they thought it was an accident at first, but realised the car was continuing to harass them as they tried to move away.
As they attempted to turn right into another street the Commodore struck them again, forcing them to lose control of their vehicle.
“We were really trying to get out of there and he was still on our tail. We were going really fast. I was worried that we were going crash really badly.”
After being rammed off the road and over a gutter, the group was trying to get out of the car and escape when they were struck yet again. The youths jumped out of their moving vehicle and ran to hide in Housing Commission flats just behind Albert Street.
They hid among the buildings for around ten minutes before hearing the attackers drive off.
“We watched them drive across Albert Street, down the other side of Vickers, then we ran back to the car.”
The group found their car had been looted, with the attackers taking, taking phones and chargers, wallets and sets of keys.
“They went through the car, they took my mate’s wallet and keys that fell out of his pocket as we were trying to get out of the car,” says the youth.
In a post on Facebook, the Pokémon hunters warned others to be aware of maintaining safety while they were pursuing the online craze – a line supported by Victoria Police, who released a statement saying in part that:
- If attending a Poke-Stop or a Poke-Gym, make sure to adhere to local council bylaws regarding large gatherings and noise late at night.
- Remain aware of your surroundings
- It’s also important to make sure that you’re remaining on public property – no bulbasaur is worth trespassing for.
- Also, unfortunately, there are also some less than savoury Poke-trainers out there, who may use lures to bring you out into unfamiliar territory.
- Make sure that if you’re going hunting, particularly at night, you have someone with you or tell people where you going and always be aware of your surroundings.
Sources say the ram-raid may be a copycat of similar attacks taking place in Melbourne, where cars are being stolen after thieves ram their victim.
The Courier has contacted Ballarat police regarding the attack, and is awaiting a response.
Anyone with information on crime in Ballarat is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or Ballarat Police.