Internet Genius Does Impressive Detective Work, Uses Google Earth to Recover Stolen Car

Google Earth helped the man recover his car 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Google
Picture of Google Street View' Subaru ImprezaGoogle Street View Car in Orlando, Florida, United States.Google Street View Car after crash in MichiganLocation of accident on Google MapsGoogle Street View
Technology often comes to the rescue when owners try to recover their stolen cars, and Apple's AirTag is living proof. The pill-shaped tracker can provide valuable location data, helping car owners and police determine precisely where a stolen vehicle is at any given time.
23-year-old Jayy Robinson did not have AirTags in his two vehicles that got stolen not long ago. A thief broke into his home, found the keys to his Seat and Volkswagen Golf, stole them, and eventually drove away with both cars.

Robinson contacted the police but decided to ask for help online, hoping someone would find his cars. And they did, as a friend came across a Snapchat story when an unnamed individual was trying to sell a Seat that looked a lot like Robinson's.

The two decided to interact with the seller, asking for more information about the car. The thief asked for 2,000 British pounds to return the car without knowing that the two detectives wannabe were already conducting a clever investigation to determine the cars' location. They used details appearing in the footage posted online by the thief, including the name of a housing estate on a wheelie bin, to get an approximate location of the vehicles.

After a few online searches, they switched to Google Earth to pinpoint the exact location on the map. They eventually determined where the vehicles were parked, so Robinson again contacted the police, asking for help to recover them.

He eventually decided to take matters into his own hands, so he went to the reported location and found the Seat parked on the side of the street. He jumped inside the car and drove away. The Volkswagen Golf wasn't around, but the man hoped the police would help recover his second car, too.

However, Robinson says the police didn't help him. Several days later, the case was still pending allocation, so the brave man had no option but to search for the vehicles on his own.

Meanwhile, the police also responded in statements for the local media, claiming the search for the missing vehicle is underway. The officers don't seem to have any clue about where it might be parked, but they ask citizens to help by providing any information that could help with the investigation and locate the missing Volkswagen Golf.

Google Earth played a key role in this case, but hats off to Robinson, who demonstrated genuine detective skills this time. However, I can't help but emphasize that recovering the car on his own is extremely dangerous, as someone who breaks into your house and steals your car might not have a problem doing worse things if you end up face to face with them.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

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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