Ingress: Battlefront Stories: So I Got Arrested


Eheaubaut posted on Reddit his experience with police the other night:

I was out capturing some portals (I live in a medium sized city and only one other person is playing that I noticed, only one portal was taken.). And I walk by the police station and notice that the portal was still free! So I grabbed it. then my phone locked up. I restart it, and load the game back up when a cop noticed me, shouted to me and arrested me. Apparently sitting near a police station for about 5 minutes with a GPS view of the surrounding area with little blue blips on the screen is a red flag. I was in a holding cell for nearly 3 hours explaining to them it’s just a game by google. Strangest night ever.

There were also other cases of issues with police like the one of the user mooksas commented on the tread:

I also had my first run in with the police tonight. I was at a smaller post office at 8pm placing resonators (which is the only reason I was even out of my car) when another car that got pulled over from the main road pulled into the same small parking lot. I had just finished my last resonator so I then got in my car to begin setting up links. Apparently just seeing me get in my car in the dark parking lot after the officer pulled someone over was enough to raise his suspicions. So the first officer who had pulled over the other car sent his backup to come question me.

Luckily my phone was still running and after I told the officer what I was doing she looked at my phone and said wow, that looks kinda cool (I’m pretty sure she was just patronizing me at this point). She started into a spiel about how the post office was closed (I pointed out the lobby was still open) and that I was a nice target for someone looking to steal my phone or my car (mind you this is probably one of the least sketchy areas for miles). Then she started with the “Do you have ID”…I hesitate, but reluctantly present my ID because I really don’t want to end up like OP tonight. I say “Is all this really necessary?” as I hand over my ID, and luckily she gets the hint, backs off, and says enjoy your game.

This will surely not be the last time that Ingress players will be harassed for being on public property.

Did you have any issues with police? Please advise that we still can’t get you from the jail but we will try as hard as we can!


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  1. So… it should be mentioned that if a police officer requests your ID there should be nothing reluctant about presenting it. Presenting your ID, if you have it on you, is a legal requirement and refusing to do so is a good way to get arrested and make yourself look even more suspicious.

    I think people playing this game (I’m one of them) aren’t nearly cognizant enough of just how suspicious playing this game can make you look, especially in the middle of the night.

    And yes, hanging out in front of a police station messing with your phone is enough to raise eyebrows and if you mouth of or get indignant you very well may find yourself being held. Folks should probably research their rights and the right things to say so they know how to avoid these situations. Go read some photog blogs about the subject; they’ve got good info there. Also, you should probably be familiar with your local laws regarding things like trespassing, etc.

      • Benchpress Billy on

        The purpose of this page is to aid folks in playing Ingress in a low impact,legal and sensible manner. Encouraging them to be difficult and stubborn with law enforcement to prove a point is silly and immature. This comment should be be deleted.

        • So you are saying it is silly and immature to defend your rights as a US citizen, and you don’t support freedom of speech – because you are asking for the above comment to be deleted?

      • There are state and federal laws regarding needing an ID in public. If you are over the age of 18, you can’t legally leave your property without proper identification. You can be stopped at anytime and asked for your state/federal ID. that’s why the whole AZ thing didn’t make since, its already federal law that you must have legal identification on you at all times.

  2. Was “pulled over” checking GPS to figure out where an Ingress portal was. There was a blind pull off on the side of the road where some construction was going on, so we pulled into an unmarked parking lot. We didn’t realize we were in the parking lot of a closed park. I posted the following about it later on my G+:

    “We pulled into an unmarked parking lot to check GPS. A ranger blocks us in two minutes after. We’re sitting there with lights on and engine running, obviously checking phones. He informs us that the park is closed, asks what are we doing there, and do we have drugs, alcohol, or guns? Not just in the ‘this is a routine traffic stop’ style… Full on rude, douchy, a**hole-mode activated. This after we tell him we’re just checking something on GPS and just needed to pull over somewhere.

    There was no closed sign, no gate; I didn’t even know we were near a park. It was just an unmarked parking lot. He runs our license, and benevolently informs us we can have a warning this time, but if we ever do it again, we’ll be ticketed. I asked him how we were supposed to know, and he waved to some sign off up the road beyond a gate further up that ALSO wasn’t closed, but that we were no where near. His tone was super rude and confrontational. He never offered help once after he realized we were checking a map. We were so temporary, we weren’t even in a parking spot! And no one tried to get out of the car! He even said the signs and gates and stuff were probably gone because of construction, but still. We should know better somehow.”

    Players beware. :p Even if you try to obey the law and not mess with GPS while you’re driving, you may end up breaking the law.

  3. No police run-ins as yet, although I got to say it *did* occur to me that fiddling with the phone for a quater of an hour (as I was blowing up an enemy portal) outside a major Defence establishment might get a few furry eyebrows…. :o/

  4. I’ve been questioned by an officer for being near a library, and been told by a security guard that he was going to have to call the local authorities if I didn’t offer up some sort of explanation for why I circled the park (1 block radius in downtown) so many times.

  5. I always have my 5 year old with me. That sounds terrible but I’m not in the cemetery or anything… to post offices and such at night.

  6. I haven’t been arrested for playing but I’ve definitely been getting some strange looks from cops, even during the day. I crossed the same crosswalk about 4 times to link up a control field near a police station and the crossing guard cop started eyeing me so i calmly decided to make my way to another area. It’s only a matter of time before the developers post an official response to players having encounters with law enforcement. I think a printed explanation of what we’re doing might be helpful and could show the officer that we are not attempting criminal activity. Thinking ahead is probably a good idea, I for one am not going out in the middle of the night anymore to play.

  7. luckily this happens only in your country, where do I live, loitering not only isn’t prohibited, but forbidding it is somehow not understandable as a concept. Teenagers meet up in small gropus all over the city with their scooter, first concealed 10-pack of cigs a couple of beers,..showing up their latest downloaded app on theyr smartphone .. boys and girls alltogether any time of the day or the night.
    Nothing to worry about or to be ashamed of. I’ve been stopped 30/40 times in the ten years I’m driving but no agent ever asked me “what are you doing?”
    It’s kinda sad to hear you don’t have this taste of freedom. The city is mine, I can go where the hell I want at any hour, if I want. Why shouldn’t I? No reason!

  8. I haven’t been stopped by an officer yet but I have been followed a couple of times. I do pretty much all of my Ingressing in the dark or morning or night on foot, which might cause less issues or more. Not quite sure.

  9. Public means public, and as long as you are respecting curfews and regulations, then it’s your right to be there. Period. At least here in the USA.

    • Yeah, if only all the police were mindful of that. I’m 2¾ years uptime of Darthblue’s comment here, and if I were Black instead of white I’d be a helluva lot more nervous about snarky cops than I am.

  10. I live in Columbia, SC and the Capitol Complex is a full of portals. I’ve honestly been pretty surprised so far. I’ve walked around it several times at all hours of the day (and night) and haven’t been questioned. They even have troopers patrol the complex and I’ve seen them multiple times in the same night. Generally I just smile say hi, and keep walking. I’m more than happy to explain if they ask, but they haven’t so far.

  11. The simple fact of the matter is that, in the USA, you can go where you want and take pictures, get GPS fixes, hack portals, or just stand there and look at things. Most cops are professional, courteous, and aware of the law. The problems are the outliers with chips on their shoulders and the inevitable, minimum-wage security guards that don’t know squat about the law.

    As citizens, we should all know our rights and exercise them regularly. “Use ’em or lose ’em” is absolutely true. You do not have to present an ID unless you are doing something that requires the ID–when driving, you must present your license when requested by a law-enforcement officer (but not a security guard).

    Don’t argue with a cop, but do get his/her/their name and badge/patrol number if they give you a hard time.

    A good question to ask if you’re stopped on the street is, “pardon me, sir, but am I being detained or am I free to go?” If the officer says you’re free to go, say “thank you”, STOP TALKING, and GO.

    I really wish the people describing their experiences above had given some pertinent details, like the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred.

    Remember, though, that you have a right to be on public property unless it’s prohibited. If a park ranger tells you otherwise, say, “OK; please cite me, then, and we’ll see what the judge says about all this.” If you’re not misbehaving, that should put an end to it.

    Likewise, don’t go where you’re not supposed to be. If the place is closed, stay out and wait for it to open. The Ingress players I’ve met are conscientious and considerate. If any of us are perceived as rogue or rude, it hurts all of us.

  12. Just a note that I encountered some very angry parents when I was attacking a portal near a playground. I can’t blame them; a single male hanging around a playground with children staring at his phone is troubling. So I would avoid those portals – not that it’s illegal but it’s not particularly neighbourly.

    • I’m wondering who was more un-neighbourly, you or the parents. Being a male is not a crime, nor should it proscribe your access to places (other than ladies’ restrooms, fitting rooms, etc.)

      • I can see why the parents would be curious but beyond that, assuming something bad is happening is an overreaction. I take my kids to the park and I don’t think I would be getting upset in that situation and if I was, I would ask. And then get on my droid and request an invite.

  13. I have had several “meetings” with the police in our area. We always let them see our phone screen and tell them we are playing a game. They usually have us explain it and say be careful and send us on our way. However, the best happened last night as my Hubby (CruzeControl) and I sat blowing up a portal only to have resonators thrown back on. We finally got the jump on the opposition when a police car pulled beside us, rolled his window down and asked…..Cruze? Of course we admitted it only to find that the portal was owned by two local police officers and that the other was on his way to say Hello! We shook hands and got the heck out of town!!!

  14. olathegiscam on

    Coming from a public property standpoint – sometimes these “public places” have hours. I work for a municipality and we’ve already had two complaints in the last two months regarding Ingress. One is a farmer whose property is adjacent to a “public” place having a portal or two, and people consistently cross his property, day or night, to get to the portal. At lest with geocaching, permisson from the cache can be withdrawn if common sense rules are broken. The other complaint involved someone trying to reach a portal that had been placed in the middle of a historic site, which has specific open/closed hours. I’ve personally been a geocacher for many years and definitely get the thrill of the covert hunt. But it seems Ingress seems to be a little on the rogue side of the coin – unfortunately.

    • SquidonRice on

      Being that Ingress is a game that combines the adventuring of Digital Geocatching, with the competitiveness of “Capture the flag” and “King of the hill” People need to be aware that it is still an “augmented reality” game, and therefore reality still applies. we cannot allow the competitive drive from the game to override comon sense, and regard for public /private property. Not only can our behaviour potentially make us look suspicious; but the police may just be trying to pint out that “loitering” on a public park at night with your face burried in a smarphone (with the smartphone out in plain view) may be putting you in a very vulnerable position to get that mugged for that very same smartphone.

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  16. I have played around the downtown headquarters in Spokane. And I have played around the federal building. A couple times I have seen officers nearby and even looking in my direction. As soon as I see an officer and make eye contact I approach them with both hands out and I mention with a smile that I am only playing a game on my phone. I tell them that it is kind of a cross between foursquare and capture the flag. Then I walk away from the area. If I havent gotten the portal yet I show them my phone as I play, Of course when they hear “hacking not successful” it creates another conversation. :) So far I have never even been asked for my id.

  17. J. Johnson, I’m assuming you’re discussing the United States. If so, you are just plain wrong. There is *NO* Federal legal requirement to carry ID with you, regardless of your age. If you think differently, cite a reliable source, please. Don’t spread rumor and innuendo.

  18. Tuesday night at around 10pm, I pulled off onto a small road that leads to a park, and started to hack a portal there. within 15 seconds a bright spotlight was on my suv, blinding me, followed quickly by squad car cherries. first thought, was “great, here we go” after a minute, of which I assume he was running my plates, he finally approached, and asked if everything was okay, which surprised me, I told him what I was doing, and showed him my phone, he seemed to be interested, and joked that I should be careful that time of night being alone. He never asked for my license or insurance or anything, I figure it was because I was polite, and answered his questions. I figured at some point I would be stopped by police, I am just glad the officer was polite, and respectful.

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Ingress: Battlefront Stories: So I Got Arrested

by Bojan Cincur time to read: 2 min