We live in a world where crimes are committed on a daily basis. Crimes of all shapes and sizes are always taking place, each with their own backstories and motivations. Some crimes are just for financial gain, while others have some emotions attached to them. Especially in urban environments, crime is just a part of the people’s daily life. It’s unfortunate. But, as long as there are laws, there will be people breaking them.
Especially for those who have paid attention to the recent leaks that have come out, the government seems to always want to be spying on us. There are fair reasons for this, such as the crime and terrorism stated above. But, most of the people in this country are simple law-abiding citizens. Massive surveillance projects seem like an endeavor of the future, but there are multiple ways in which we’re being spied on every day. Google Earth may not be the same as rigging a Samsung smart TV to appear as though it’s off and record your conversations, but it can certainly be deemed as an invasion of privacy.
These 15 crimes happened to be caught on Google Earth, which is no small feat. Despite the “keeping tabs on us” mentality, Google only updates its services a few times a year. Unfortunately for these people, they were caught doing some unsavory activities when the Google van passed by. Some even had to pay the legal price for their crimes.
15 Bike Thieves
Having your bike, phone, and wallet stolen from you as you’re just trying to get home is one of those inconveniences that will ruin your entire week. You’ve lost most of your important items, and crimes like these are usually ones that go unsolved.
Six months after a 14-year-old from the Netherlands experienced this theft, he believed he would never see his bike again. That was until he took a look at the Google Earth image of the street where he was robbed. The image the victim saw was of himself riding his bike, flanked by the twin brothers who stole it from him. Police were able to catch up with the thieves–who were already well-known to authorities–and get the young man his bike.
14 Jewel Heist
Google Earth has been able to catch some excitement while canvasing the streets of the world. Added to its portfolio is this shot-by-shot police chase in Serbia. Two men were about to rob a jewelry store as police arrived. They booked it when they saw the flashing lights, and police had to chase them down.
The chase was caught by the Google Earth cameras and enshrined in the internet forever. These pictures aren’t as exciting as a live-action police chase, but the fact that Google was lucky enough to capture the drama is impressive. Pedestrians can be seen marveling at the scene as they go about their daily activities. The chase ended favorably for the police, as they were able to catch the would-be robbers before they could get away.
13 Drug Deal In Action
When Reddit user wowurdumb, a recovering heroin addict, took a trip down memory lane by searching his former favorite dope spot in Camden, New Jersey, he got a peek at what he might have looked like from the outside.
The user posted a picture of what he saw, saying that he was neither surprised nor disappointed. The Google Earth picture showed a drug deal taking place at the exact spot where he used to buy all of his drugs. The user says that he’s clean now and that he’s turned his life around since his days of buying heroine through a fence. Nostalgia never hurt anyone, though, and the user found some comfort in the fact that he is not alone in his struggles.
The reason this one didn’t make it to the top of the list is because there’s some dispute about its legitimacy. This appears to be a picture of a young man pointing a gun at a passing boy. Some have claimed that this picture was taken moments before a shooting, but there doesn’t appear to be any correlation with this picture and any adolescent shooting in the area.
If this is a real photo, it doesn’t mean that the older boy shot the younger boy. He could have been pointing a gun until the younger boy ran away. Some people seem to think that the gun is fake, but it wouldn’t be the first time a teenager got his hands on an illegal firearm. Looking at the younger boy’s motion, he appears to be terrified either way. Regardless of whether or not this picture resulted in a serious–even fatal–crime, it was still a shocking snapshot taken by Google Earth.
Nothing like a good old-fashioned toilet paper attack to get your day started. Many of us have gone through the ding-dong-ditch/TP phase of our lives. It’s the phase where we just do mischievous things just to do mischievous things. This was probably the first time we truly realized that getting in trouble wasn’t all that big of a deal.
TPing someone’s house isn’t a master criminal move, though. In fact, it has to be one of the lowest crimes imaginable. But, it’s still against the law. Almost all of these malicious attacks are done by someone under the age of 14 and likely for no other reason than those trees looking like they could use some decoration. Thankfully, Google Earth was there to take a picture and enshrine this work of art for years to come.
10 Quick HJ
This is what we in the biz call “a crime of passion.” Get it?
Well, these two may not be participating in a malicious crime, but there are at least a few laws being broken in this picture. For one, I can’t imagine it being legal to whip out your junk for a quick stroke on the side of the road. This was taken in England, and I’m not well-versed in English law (more of a bird law specialist), but there has to be a law against things like this.
It’s not necessarily the case–these two individuals could be in the midst of a loving, passionate, long-term relationship–but there are a few indications that this woman may be a prostitute. Her outfit is nothing concrete by itself, but when your wanking (a little local flavor for you) a guy in public, especially one looking the way that he is, I think it’s fair to speculate. Regardless, this was an A+ capture by the team over at Google Earth. And for that, we have to be grateful.
One Google Earth user in Scotland was terrified when she saw what appeared to be a murder taking place in full view of the Google Earth camera. They called police to report what they had seen, and police were dispatched to Thompson Motor Company in Edinburgh to investigate.
When police arrived, they found the victim of the “murder,” Dan Thompson, alive and well in his shop. Thompson works as a mechanic at the shop, and he and “perpetrator” Gary Kerr explained to police what had happened. The two of them saw the Google Street View car roaming down the street and decided to make the most of their opportunity. Instead of making a sign or a funny gesture, the two decided to stage a murder scene. They had actually forgotten about their stunt by the time police questioned them about it, as the picture was taken months before it was uploaded.
At least they saw the Google Street View car passing by, which is more than can be said for the next group of criminal masterminds.
8 Grand Theft Auto
Google Earth seems to be around at unexpectedly perfect times, and this is one case where it helped police identify the perpetrator of a crime. In 2010, the above car was stolen from the owner’s lot. He had no leads as to who had taken it, but eventually saw his location on Google Earth.
As it turns out, the Google Street View car was passing by at the exact moment this man was stealing the victim’s car. The man was in the process of the theft as the car passed and can be seen adjusting his pants. It wasn’t until two years after the crime was committed that these pictures surfaced, so the identity of the man responsible still eluded the police.
Fortunately, for everyone involved (except the guy who did it), police were able to arrest the man two years after he stole the car.
7 Indecent Exposure
The Google Street View car is like a little child. It doesn’t know any better, so it’s going to see everything that’s in front of it. Unfortunately, that includes the times you pull over to have a quickie on the hood of your car.
While there’s nothing maliciously wrong with this photo, there are rules about banging people in public like this. Not everyone is a fan of these rules, but I can see why they are in place. This happy couple was enjoying a good old-fashioned shag on the side of the road when the Google car drove by with a camera. Instead of attempting to hide their shame, the couple owned it by waving and chugging a beer right in everyone’s face. We can only hope they’re still together, as you don’t see a connection like this every day.
6 Google The Narc
This story should serve as a message to all drug dealers out there—keep your head on a swivel; Google is watching. I know it’s hard to spot the bright-white Google car with a camera mounted on the roof. But if you don’t see it coming, you may wind up like these guys.
This and a couple other Google Earth pictures assisted police in identifying the members of a Brooklyn heroin ring, as well as where they operate. This area was known to police as a hotbed of drug activity, and local businesses even shut down at odd times to keep themselves out of the drug world. With the assistance of Google Earth, police were able to identify and apprehend six drug dealers in this area—three of them are pictured above.
5 2nd Amendment Right
This picture taken in a Detroit neighborhood must have given the driver of the Google Street View car quite a scare when he saw it, as a group of teenagers appear to be pointing a gun directly at the vehicle. The Google cars are anything but inconspicuous, and sometimes, people who don’t want to be photographed will take notice.
There isn’t anything inherently illegal about this picture. If the person holding the gun is of age and has a license, then he is allowed to protect his property with a weapon. No one could tell the specifics of the photo, so there wasn’t any legal trouble over this photo.
The creepy part of this story is that a month after this photo was taken, a 1-year-old girl named Zyia Turner was found dead in the closet. She was reported missing by the family, but police dogs later found her at the bottom of a pile of clothes in the closet.
Prostitution has to be the number one illegal activity caught on Google Earth. There are so many pictures of prostitutes doing their business on Google Earth that they could probably make up a list of their own.
Just because a scantily-clad woman is pictured on the side of the road, that doesn’t mean she’s a prostitute. That said, it’s not an unfair assumption that they are prostitutes. And, nine times out of ten, you’re going to be correct; especially when they’re caught negotiating with clients or stepping into a large truck in high heels and half of her a*s sticking out of her skirt. She could be a simple hitchhiker, but I think most people feel comfortable assuming that they are the ones getting paid and not the ones paying the truck driver.
In 2011, an Oklahoma City woman was robbed at gunpoint in her home. The perpetrators held her for hours while they ransacked the place, stealing everything of value that they could find. The woman was obviously petrified by the experience and says that she was convinced that the pair were going to shoot her before they left. They didn’t shoot her, though, and the victim considered herself lucky for that. But, the two robbers got away and weren’t able to be tracked down by police.
Three years after the incident, a friend of the victim was searching the victim’s street on Google Earth. She stopped at her friend’s house and saw that there were two men who fit the descriptions of the robbers standing outside the victim’s house. Police were alerted and were able to find the suspects who were inadvertently captured on Google Images.
2 Illegal Logging
For a few years now, countries such as the Philippians have been using Google Earth as a tool to fight illegal logging in certain areas. Using Google Earth’s aerial view, these authorities are keeping track of those who are illegally cutting down trees in their countries.
The Philippine National Police issued a statement thanking Google Earth for their services, and they’re only one of the countries using this tool to combat illegal logging. An aerial view of the area allows authorities to detect when a certain place is being cut, and authorities are often able to catch up with the perpetrators before they get away. This element is universal and has made the detection of illegal logging in tropical areas much easier to detect.
1 Brazilian Killings
As many people know, certain areas of Brazil are notorious for violent crimes. Police and criminals often clash in the streets, leaving dead people on both sides of the conflict. Innocent bystanders are sometimes killed, and gang-related deaths are extremely high in some areas.
This and a few other pictures were captured by the Google Earth car back in 2010. They weren’t on the site for long, which gives further authenticity to the images. If Google hadn’t taken them down, then there would be some who claimed they were fake.
This photo shows a chilling image of what appears to be a body in a trash bag. It was accompanied by at least two other photos of dead people on the same street, giving a glimpse into the stark reality that many local residents face every day.