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Police say burglars used Google Earth to rob homes in Chicago suburb

Bryan Alaspa's picture

Two men are now in police custody after a string of robberies committed in an affluent Chicago suburb and police say they got help in their endeavors using Google Earth.

As many as nine suburban homes, possibly more, were targeted. Many of the homes were just off of major highways in the affluent suburb of Indian Head Park, near Chicago. Police have arrested a man named Samuel A. Watson, 33, in his home for a burglary in Indian Head Park on July 18.

According to media reports, the resident in the home was sleeping when Watson pried open a rear exit door and reached in, grabbing items, before managing to get a door open more fully to steal more items. At that point he came face-to-face with the frightened resident.

According to police, Watson admitted to that crime as well as several others. Then, to the police surprise, he admitted how he had selected homes to rob. He entered "expensive homes near highways" in the Chicago area on the Google Earth program that provides satellite photos of the planet. He used the overhead views to find isolated homes, near highways, with easy access and getaway possibilities. He was also able to determine the general size and layout of the homes as well as detect fences and other things that could be in the way.

During the crime spree, jewelry and electronics were stolen. Police say that it is believe as much as $100,000 worth of property was stolen from residents.

Watson was arrested along with a man named Claude White. Watson is suspected of being the driver of an SUV that rammed a parked car while attempting to elude police in a pursuit that took place on September 21. White is believed to be the passenger in the SUV and was also charged with burglary for taking property from townhomes in Indian Head Park minutes before the accident with police.

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