KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — An Italian top mafia on the run for nearly two decades has finally been caught thanks to the Google Maps app.
Police told Reuters that Gioacchino Gammino, 61, was tracked down in Galapagar, a town near Madrid, Spain, where he lived under a fake name.
According to the news agency, a Google Maps street view picture showing a man that looked like Gamminoin in front of a fruit shop was key in triggering a deeper investigation.
“The photogram helped us to confirm the investigation we were developing in traditional ways,” Nicola Altiero, deputy director of the Italian anti-mafia police unit (DIA), reportedly said.
Gammino, a member of a Sicilian mafia group dubbed Stidda, had escaped Rome’s Rebibbia jail in 2002 and in 2003 had been sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder committed several years earlier.
Altiero said Gammino is currently under custody in Spain and they hope to bring him back to Italy by the end of February.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reported that Gammino changed his name to Manuel and worked as a chef and owned a fruit and vegetable shop.
The image that led to Gammino’s arrest was a picture of two men chatting outside a fruit and vegetable shop called El Huerto de Manu, or Manu’s Garden, in Galapagar.
Police believed one of the men closely resembled Gammino, but his identity was only confirmed when they came across a listing for a nearby restaurant called La Cocina de Manu or Manu’s Kitchen.
The shop and the restaurant are now closed, but the police found a photo of Gammino, dressed in his chef’s garb, on a still-existing Facebook page for La Cocina de Manu.
He was recognisable by the scar on the left side of his chin.
Upon his arrest, he reportedly told police: “How did you find me? I haven’t even called my family for 10 years!”