NEW DORP — Pokémon GO players have been sneaking into an historic Staten Island cemetery hunting Ghastlys and Haunters.
A Staten Island Assemblyman called on players to stay out of Moravian Cemetery — a PokéStop in the game — and the cemetery promised to prosecute gamers caught inside "to the fullest extent of the law."
"Not only is it disrespectful to our families and their loved one’s resting on our sacred grounds, the game playing also presents a problem in that players of this game can easily get hurt," the cemetery said in a statement.
"We feel that Pokémon GO is causing its players to trespass and putting them in great danger. We have also decided that, going forward, anyone caught trespassing on our grounds will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Security guards at the cemetery caught several groups of digital trainers sneaking in at night to catch the digital pocket monsters and Assemblyman Ron Castorina Jr. asked the developers to remove churches and cemeteries from the game.
"Many of the characters listed to be 'caught,' are placed inside of churches, cemeteries and privately owned, fenced areas that are being broken into," Castorina said in a statement.
The hit cellphone game has players walking around and catching digital Pokémon and, to get supplies, visiting real world PokéStops that include places like the cemetery and the St. George Ferry Terminal.
Aside from breaking into the places to catch them all, Castorina said the game uses the phone's GPS to track players' locations and he worries it will become a "breeding ground" for murderers or child predators.
"Safety issues then arise due to the fact that anyone playing the game nearby knows where these so-called PokéStops are," Castorina said.
"If a predator, for example, waits by a stop late at night, he or she is very likely to encounter vulnerable kids who are easy to take advantage of. Something needs to be done to prevent a disaster within our community before it happens."