Police: Pokemon Go robbery report in Iowa City just drug deal gone bad

Man charged with making false report after officers say they noticed inconsistencies

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IOWA CITY — Police said a Coralville man who claimed to be robbed while playing Pokemon Go was actually just angry about a drug deal gone bad.

According to an Iowa City police criminal complaint, on Aug. 29 around 2 p.m., 23-year-old Tomas O. Sotelo came to the Iowa City Police Department to report a strong arm robbery. Sotelo told an officer that he was playing Pokemon Go in Court Hill Park around midnight on Friday when he was knocked to the ground by a man with a deep voice who wanted his money. Sotelo told an officer he gave the man $20 and a battery pack and the man fled.

The officer, however, said there were inconsistencies in Sotelo’s story. Sotelo was warned about making a false report, with the officer specifically mentioning Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, who falsely claimed he and three other Olympic swimmers had been robbed at gunpoint during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

When confronted about those inconsistencies and advised that there could be surveillance cameras in the park, Sotelo began to change his story, police said. Instead of a robbery, Sotelo said he met a man in the park to buy a baggie of marijuana for $10. Sotelo said the man argued with him about the size of the bag and took his $20.

Sotelo was arrested and faces one count of making a false report, a serious misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

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