RADFORD, Va. (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.
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 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.
The latest reports, form research group Sensor Tower, says 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 20s 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 50,000 returning Virginia Tech and Radford University students to the 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.