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Plainfield widow says Pokemon Go gamers don't belong in cemeteries

A Plainfield widow says while her family enjoys Pokemon Go, playing in a cemetery just isn't appropriate.
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People are beginning to push back against the cultural phenomenon caused by the Pokemon Go app, which has people wandering around, visiting real-life locations in search of virtual creatures.

There have been reports of robberies and accidents involving players of the smartphone game who have been distracted by the app.

That includes a 15-year-old from Pennsylvania, who ended up in the hospital. That girl's mother says the teen had just finished playing the game and was trying to cross the street when a car hit her.

Pokemon Go is also facing backlash from several major landmarks.

Now, a Plainfield family is expressing the same feelings after visiting a family member's grave only to see people running around "catching" Pokemon near their loved one's final resting place.

"I'm a young widow trying to figure out how to raise two boys alone," said 39-year-old Melissa Brown, who's still wading through the early stages of grief after losing her husband of 14 years to melanoma in January. "I'm trying to make the best of it."

Sometimes the only place Brown finds comfort is at Plainfield's Maple Hill Cemetery, where her husband is buried.

"This is my place to like sit with my husband and talk to him about what's going on in our lives, what I'm having trouble dealing with and just talking it out with him," Brown explained.

This week, though, the conversation has been interrupted by dozens of visitors to the cemetery, all there to play Pokemon Go.

"I think it's a good game.  It gets the kids out, gets them active, but I just think a cemetery is not a place to play a game," said Brown.

That's just what Brown told a group of gamers she ran into Wednesday when Eyewitness News went with her to the cemetery. During the brief exchange, a young woman told Brown she was also there to visit her father's grave, but also was with people playing the game.

"Then go visit the grave," Brown told the young woman.

"We've been already," she told Brown.

It seems the people who run the cemetery agree with Brown.  They've hung a sign on the front gates requesting that gamers not come to the cemetery to play their games.

That hasn't stopped people from coming there, though, phones in hand, ready to play.

"The kids are having a good time, I get that," said Brown. "Just don't come to a place like a cemetery.  I mean, just out of respect for those that have passed and those that are still here, trying to go on."

Ironically, Brown's youngest son Eli, enjoys the game, too.

"Instead of just sitting at home, you get to go all around town," Eli explained of why he likes it.

Still, Eli said, he wouldn't play in a cemetery.

"It's just....it was rude," the 12-year-old said.

Brown has a message for Pokemon Go's creators.

"Please, just take whatever these people are coming to the cemetery to get, take 'em out. Put 'em someplace else. Just not here," Brown said.

Brown's not against the game, she said she just thinks there's no room for it in what she considers a sacred place.