“Please, ‘Pokémon Go’ responsibly.” Consider that a public service reminder from Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Captain Bill Song.
Song told the La Cañada Flintridge City Council he suspects the armed robberies on Foothill Boulevard in the early morning hours of July 11 and 12 were connected to the augmented reality game that’s become an international trend, having players use smartphones to hunt virtual characters.
“We can’t confirm it, but we suspect it is related,” Song said by phone Wednesday. “The items that were stolen were cell phones, which are mostly the items that are taken whenever they’re doing this Pokémon [robbery.] There’s been a little spike in robberies that way, when [robbers] have been known to steal cell phones.”
Authorities in several states have reported instances in which they suspect criminals used the Pokémon Go app to target victims by luring them to isolated spots.
“It’s a crime of opportunity,” Song said. “There are a lot of kids, a lot of young adults out there playing this game. They come in crowds and they’re not quite paying attention to their surroundings. They’re walking in the street, into trees, jumping out into traffic because they’re so consumed in the game. And the bad guys are taking advantage of that.”
Be aware of the real world, Song said, while traversing the virtual one.
The City Council voted to lift a temporary moratorium prohibiting permits for facilities greater than 10,000 square feet — think of the empty space in the Town Center that formerly was occupied by Sport Chalet.
The Council had the opportunity to extend the moratorium to as much as 10 months and 15 days, but decided against it after the evidence presented in the form a letter from La Cañada Retail and the statements of four representatives from IDS Real Estate Group, owner of the Town Center.
“One of the things that does make a huge difference on why [IDS is] getting the [moratorium lifted] is, frankly, the way IDS operates,” Mayor Jonathan Curtis said. “The way it operates as a company and the way it’s structured, and what you’ve done with the town center— looking for the synergy rather than looking for the dollar.”
The city will continue to study and analyze what types of business will make the most sense in the vacant space. The moratorium was enacted in large part to allow time for that analysis to begin.
“It’s our No. 1 retail place in town, so it’s important that it’s a good fit for our community, but I do have every confidence that [IDS] will see that through,” council member Terry Walker said.
The temporary ban began June 7 and lapses after its initial 45-day ruling.
On second thought, the City Council voted to uphold an appeal of a decision by the Public Works and Traffic Commission about the installation of parkway improvements along the south side of Fairmount Avenue between Earlmont and Hillard avenues.
Several residents spoke at Tuesday’s meeting and others emailed council members to express their concerns with the concept, which they said had the potential to cause more traffic issues in the area near Palm Crest Elementary School.
City staff’s suggestions included making temporary striping on the south side of Fairmont permanent along with improvements such as a concrete curb and gutter, sidewalk and drought-tolerant landscaping.
Initially, the council ruled against the appeal, but because neither the appellant nor his neighbors were made aware that the council would be discussing the situation for the first time last month, the council considered it again Tuesday.