Hull, England – Police say criminals are using Google Earth to identify homes with large ponds in the North East of England in order to steal valuable koi carp.
Twelve separate thefts of the giant goldfish – worth hundreds of dollars – have been reported. One man lost four carp and expensive water lilies from his pond. A neighbor reported seeing two men with a bike with a box on it and a big black net. Another man lost 13 koi carp and the thieves also took water filtration equipment.
A police spokesman said: “Google shows what is in your garden and you can see people’s ponds. The property targeted has an eight foot fence and is set back from the road. The pond is in the corner and can’t be seen. Unless you were standing right next to the wall, you wouldn’t be able to hear the running water.”
A Google spokesperson said that Google Earth could not be held responsible for the thefts “as criminals also use maps, phones and getaway cars but no one would argue that these technologies are responsible for the crime itself. That responsibility lies with the perpetrator”.
Earlier this year a British man received an eight-month suspended jail term and 100 hours community service after admitting using Google Earth to target historic buildings and stealing more than $170,000 worth of lead from their roofs.
But the temptation proved too much and a few weeks later he was caught again and sent down for 12 months.