Registered sex offenders living near popular Pokemon Go stops

Police warn parents to keep track of young players
Posted at 8:51 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 04:22:26-04

Pokemon Go is still growing in popularity. Avid players Lauren and Paul say searching new territory in Tampa is part of the app’s appeal.

“Hang out, walk around, explore places you haven’t seen before," said Norwood. "Places you wouldn’t normally venture off into.”

But parents and players beware. We uncovered hundreds of convicted sex offenders living within walking distance to many of the Bay Area’s most popular Pokestops.

“There’s no warning on these maps that tell people when these places are closed, where the sexual predators are located," said Larry McKinnon with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office.

ABC Action News compared a few Pokemon Go hot spots with the state’s online sex offender registry

Ballast Point Park shows 23 offenders live within two miles.  

The Castle in Ybor City is another one. We found 116 registered offenders, all living within one mile of the Pokestop.

“That right there freaked me out," said local mother Tara Collins.

Collins’ 10-year-old daughter is a Pokemon player. She says parents need to be part of the journey, appointing a chaperone to keep a close eye on underage gamers.

“Her safety is my priority, and for the idea that somebody is looking at her or anything to happen, she [could] go around the bush and get snatched up real quick," said Collins.

Some states have banned registered sex offenders from downloading and playing the game. That hasn’t happened in Florida.

Local law enforcement is simply stressing common sense parenting to keep kids safe.