Google Maps Data Helps Catch Thief, Reveals All His Targets

Google Maps Timeline stores all the locations you visited 1 photo
Photo: Google
Google Maps isn’t only the world’s number one navigation app, but also a tool that the police can actually turn to whenever investigators need to figure out where a specific suspect has been traveling to in the last few days.
This is exactly how Google Maps has been used recently by the police in Wakefield, Michigan, as the data provided by the navigation app has served as evidence of a home invasion and several car break-ins.

According to local media, the Gogebic County Sheriff’s Office was investigating several robbery cases that eventually pointed to the same 29-year-old suspect. The man stole two purses and a couple of hundred dollars from his first targets before breaking into several other cars in early November.

The suspect was eventually arrested, but the police needed more evidence about all these break-ins, so the investigators requested permission to inspect his mobile phone. Oddly enough, the man was actually OK with the whole thing, so when the police looked into Google Maps, the Timeline feature that shows the places you’ve been to lately indicated all locations where the law enforcement received complaints of robberies.

The police are now waiting for a search warrant that would provide the investigators with the right to look into more data on the device.

In the meantime, the man has been charged with 1st degree home invasion, bond violation, and larceny of personal property from a vehicle.

For what it’s worth, the Google Maps Timeline indeed saves data in the location history, but at the same time, it also provides users with the necessary options to clear all logs.

Google Maps Timeline shows an estimate of places you may have been and routes you may have taken based on your Location History. You can edit your Timeline anytime. You can also delete your Location History—including time ranges—in Timeline anytime. Timeline is private, so only you can see it, and it’s available on mobile and desktop,” Google explains.

Google Maps Timeline is available on both iPhone and Android.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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