Texas police have arrested a man who threatened online to “purge” Pokemon GO players, according to a report from CBS 4 News. The man, 29-year-old Nathan Garcia Cerda of Palmview, Texas, stated on Facebook that he and his friends were intending to “purge” any Pokemon GO players they saw the following day.
Cerda was later arrested by the Harlingen Police Department on a charge of making a terroristic threat.
“Warning……All u Pokemon Go people tomorrow me and some friends are taking out our modified paintball guns and we gonna Purge. And I know you stupid people are walking all over the place looking at the phone trying to find these Pokemon. Tomorrow we are going to be everywhere so be aware of your surroundings. We are going to have some fun tomorrow [expletive] it. =P=P=P=P=P=P Even my sister is going to purge tomorrow lol lol hahahahaha so your a** better not be walking”
It is uncertain in what way Cerda’s paintball guns were modified; the police press release did not indicate that any weapons were seized.
Cerda was tracked down and arrested by a combined investigation by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, McAllen Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service. He is currently in jail pending an appearance before a judge to face trial for the terror charge.
This isn’t the first time Cerda has had run-ins with the law. According to Digital Trends, Cerda is a registered sex offender in Texas, having been convicted of assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 2007. According to his registration, he also goes by the nickname “Dice,” and is considered a moderate-risk offender. Cerda’s Facebook page also suggests that his father is a serial offender, currently incarcerated, regularly takes pictures of himself with an obscene amount of drugs, and that (legal or not) he also owns at least one firearm.
He also has a 4-year-old son.
There’s more, but it’s a little past the bounds of good taste. Suffice to say that none of it paints a pretty picture of the man planning to purge innocent Pokemon GO players for reasons unknown.
The police have not been forthcoming on any investigation into the identity of Cerda’s “friends” who were intended to join him; the press release seems to imply that Cerda was the lone threat in this instance.
And it may well be that the threat wasn’t serious — but as Kotaku notes, Texas law doesn’t draw a line when it comes to terroristic threats.
“[A terroristic threat is] a crime generally involving a threat to commit violence communicated with the intent to terrorize another, to cause evacuation of a building, or to cause serious public inconvenience, in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.
“A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:
– place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
– place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury”
Whatever the case, it’s unlikely that Cerda is going to try to be funny again; terroristic threat penalties vary from state to state but fines can exceed $250,000 and life in prison — and it’s doubtful that any Texas judge will be inclined to go easy in today’s climate.
In the meantime, Pokemon GO players in Palmview can rest assured that Cerda won’t be stalking them tomorrow.
[Image via Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office handout]