Google Maps is a helpful tool for getting directions and live traffic data to get you wherever you need to be – but maybe not if you are a criminal trying to escape the cops.
Last week, Gioacchino Gammino, one of Italy’s most wanted gangsters was caught by detectives who spotted him on Street View after he fled from prison in Rome in 2002.
Detectives in Italy were able to uncover his new life in Spain after he changed his name to live a quiet life running his own shop in Galapagar, close to Madrid.
But this is just one of many cases where Google Maps data has been used to catch criminals on the run as the Daily Star has found four other serious cases the app helped solve.
Milwaukee kidnapping (2017)
On June 16, 2017, a kidnapping and sexual assault case was solved when police used a 'geofence warrant' to gain access to the suspect's location data.
A beaten woman in medical scrubs walked into a truck stop outside Milwaukee and begged a driver to let her call the cops after she had been kidnapped and raped by two men.
All seemed hopeless for the victim when they took off with her phone and shut it off so cops couldn't track it – but thankfully, she had seen one of her assailants pull up Google Maps on his Samsung phone.
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The police used this information to order Google to search for devices that had been used in locations linked to the crime, NBC News reports.
The information lead to a suspect, who was later convicted of all seven charges related to the attack and sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.
The mugger twins (2009)
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In 2009, twin brothers mugged a 14-year-old boy in the Netherlands but they went six months without being caught.
They may have thought they'd gotten away with it but as fate would have it, the victim later spotted his assailants on Street View in an image that police say was 'taken just a moment before the crime.'
Police were then able to get Google to unblur the photo leading to the perpetrators being identified and arrested. One of them later confessed to the crime.
A Heroin-dealing trio (2010)
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According to the New York Post, three alleged drug dealers were arrested in 2017 after they were captured hawking heroin by Google Street View cameras.
Shaundell Dade, Jamel Pringle and Jonathan Paulino were all snapped in front of a well-known dealing site in Brooklyn, New York.
The suspects were among seven people arrested in an NYPD undercover sting operation.
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Daylight robbery (2011)
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In 2011, a woman's home in Oklahoma city was broken into by two armed robbers.
They held her at gunpoint and ransacked her home in an ordeal that lasted over an hour and convinced her she was going to die.
But the initial police investigation didn't turn up any forensic evidence or other leads – that was until three years later when the victim's friend was looking up her home on Google Maps and found that the robbers had been pictured outside.
Cops immediately launched an appeal for information.
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