Google Maps Helps the Police Arrest Italian Gangster on the Run for 20 Years


While for many people, Google Maps is a must-have navigation app that helps them reach a specific destination much more conveniently, the police find this service a valuable tool in the fight against criminals. The living proof in this regard is the recent arrest of Gioacchino Gammino, an Italian mafia boss who’s been on the run for over two decades. But as it turns out, moving to Galapagar, Spain, changing your name to Manuel, marrying a local woman, and even working as a chef for a restaurant in the city wasn’t enough to guarantee his freedom. This is because Gammino, who was wanted for murder and other crimes, showed up in a photo captured by Google for the Google Maps street-level imagery available as part of Street View. According to several media reports, the fugitive showed up on Google Maps in a photo in front of a fruit and vegetable shop. The police, who already knew the gangster was hiding close to Madrid, spotted the photo on Google Maps and then conducted further online searching to locate the fugitive. Facebook pages of nearby restaurants revealed more about the Gammino, with one of the public photos even showing him dressed as a chef. Gammino was eventually caught by the police in mid-December, and unsurprisingly, he was shocked to see the investigators tracking him down. During his ad-hoc encounter with the police, he revealed he hasn’t even called his family in 10 years, all in an attempt to hide his location. Needless to say, Google Maps didn’t actually reveal the identity of the man, as people’s faces are automatically blurred on Street View. However, the police managed to identify Gammino because of a scar on the left side of his chin, something that was then easily recognizable in other photos that were found on various Facebook pages.