Pokemon Go Puncher Gets Probation Over Game-Fueled Assault

CLINTON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – A 34-year-old man accused of punching another man during an argument over the popular Pokemon Go video game, so severely the victim had to be hospitalized, has been sentenced in the case.

A judge sentenced Ryan Steiner on Dec. 12 to two years probation, plus possible restitution to the victim, The Macomb Daily reported. Steiner earlier pleaded no contest to aggravated assault, a misdemeanor charge that could have landed him in jail for a year.

The incident happened around 10:40 p.m. on August 3 in downtown Mt. Clemens. According to the Macomb County Sheriff’s office, Steiner — then 33 — was walking with his girlfriend and a second woman in the area of Market Street and Main when they encountered a 53-year-old Harrison Township man.

A verbal argument started between the two men, police said, centering around Steiner’s use of his phone to play Pokemon Go, which involves searching for virtual creatures using GPS. Threats were made, and that’s when Steiner allegedly struck the older man in the face, knocking him to the ground, according to police. Steiner then left the scene with his female companions and went into a nearby bar.

After a witness called to report the incident, responding deputies found the victim lying on the sidewalk and bleeding from a cut on the back of his head. The man was treated by EMS at the scene before being transported to McLaren-Macomb Hospital.

Deputies said they were able to identify Steiner with the help of witnesses. He was later taken into custody at a home on Wagnor Street in Warren.

Steiner is due back in court on Jan. 18 for a restitution hearing.

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