Police Use Google Maps To Track Down Mafia Fugitive After 20 Years On The Run

Most of us use Google Maps to figure out where we're trying to go or to look at random places when we're bored, but it's shown some surprising versatility over the years.

After all, when Google's Street View drivers essentially mapped out the world for us, they also captured the moments in time that were naturally unfolding around them. And a side effect from that is that these moments in time ended up helping people find someone who was missing for decades and giving grieving families a newfound final look at their loved ones.

And while this oddly doesn't mark the first time that the internet has accidentally brought a mafia fugitive to justice, it seems that Google Maps can now add law enforcement assistance to its bizarre bag of tricks.

At the turn of the millennium, a Sicilian mafioso named Gioacchino Gammino was serving a life sentence for murder.

However, Insider reported that between 2002 and 2003, he would end up escaping from a Roman prison.

And it seems he covered his tracks pretty well after that because he remained at large for almost 20 years.

And in that time, it seems that he was able to craft a new life for himself in Spain.

According to Nicola Altiero — the deputy director of Italy's anti-mafia police — Gammino was discovered dressed as a chef on the Facebook page of an unnamed restaurant in Galapagar, which is a community within Spain's capital of Madrid.

And after this discovery was made, it wasn't long before authorities figured out exactly where they could find him.

It turns out that when one of the Google Street View cars passed by a grocery store called El Huerto De Manu, it photographed Gammino chatting with a friend outside.

And as a prosecutor named Francesco Lo Voi stressed, this just happened to be the final lucky break that the long investigation into Gammino's whereabouts needed.

As he put it, "It's not as if we spend our days wading through Google Maps to find fugitives. There were many previous and long investigations, which led us to Spain. We were on a good path, with Google Maps helping to confirm our investigations."

Gammino was arrested in Spain on December 17 and authorities hope to transfer him back to Italy by the end of February.

h/t: Insider

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