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The Perils of Online Maps

Home - by - February 9, 2013 - 17:23 America/New_York - 14 Comments

Pay attention Journal News.

CBS

As a producer for 48 Hours, I’ve spent years attending murder trials. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a fan of the show so you already know that we often come across cases with interesting twists. Well, I covered a trial this past summer in La Crosse, Wis. that had one of the most unusual twists I’d heard in a while.

Dennis and Merna Koula, both in their sixties, were enjoying semi-retirement in May 2010. Living comfortably in a four-bedroom home that backed up to a golf course, they had two grown children and several grandchildren who lived minutes away.

On May 24, 2010, their son Eric headed over to the house to check on them. Alerted by a school secretary that his mom hadn’t shown up to substitute teach that morning, what Eric found when he entered his parents’ home was devastating. Dennis and Merna had been killed, each shot once in the head execution-style.

Local authorities were perplexed. Who would want to kill these two beloved grandparents? A few days later, investigators caught their first break. Steve Burgess, a bank president who lived just two houses away, came forward to say that he’d been receiving death threats at his home – scary phone calls saying his “days were numbered.” He was concerned that somehow the Koulas had been killed instead of him – a case of fatal mistaken identity.

And here’s the strangest twist of all – it turns out that when you enter Steve Burgess’ address into Google Maps…the map’s arrow flies down to the foot of the driveway…of the Koula house!

More

Nice job, Google.

» 14 Comments

  1. Bad Brad

    February 9th, 2013

    So an extension, or at least, a contractor of the Federal Government gave the killers the wrong address? Go figure.

    Thumb up +2

     
  2. Two Legged Blue Eyed Cracker

    February 9th, 2013

    Maps.

    Guns.

    Inanimate objects.

    +

    Sick, homicidal vermin

    = this.

    Take out the last factor and you have display pieces.

    Thumb up +8

     
  3. Two Legged Blue Eyed Cracker

    February 9th, 2013

    And 2 innocent people still alive.

    Thumb up +1

     
  4. Mary Jane Anklestraps

    February 9th, 2013

    I look up places I’ve lived or visited many times on google maps. They are wrong 4 out of 10 times.
    For example, if I’m looking for a certain store and find the address on google maps, it ends up being the wrong store, a gas station or empty lot.

    That’s why their disclaimer tells you to use your judgement, streets could be renamed, closed, etc.
    So you don’t go driving off a cliff thinking it’s a cul de sac. lol.

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  5. Mythy

    February 9th, 2013

    If your going to put a hit on someone I doubt you’d use Google maps to find the place. That’s some serious stuff, I would think you’d make sure you had the right house. Besides, the son did it….he was probably making the threats himself to cover his tracks.

    Thumb up +3

     
  6. Chieftain

    February 9th, 2013

    The result of the intersection of low information criminals with faux “hi-tech”…

    Thumb up +3

     
  7. mickey_moussaoui

    February 9th, 2013

    What is the world coming to when you can’t even hire a competent hit man anymore? I blame public education for this mix up. When I was a kid we learned how to read a map and a phone book.

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  8. Mary Jane Anklestraps

    February 9th, 2013

    I know, right? Lazy sonsabitches.
    You go to their job, follow them everywhere they go. Then you do it a few more times so you can get their schedule down right. Then you… Oh y’all, I gotta stop watching ID channel.

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  9. Bad Brad

    February 9th, 2013

    Mary Jane , The only time I get on google is to use their street view to see what kind of building a potential customer is in, they’ve NEVER been right. Ever. Normally I go to the Satellite view so I can see what kind of buildings, and how large are in the general vicinity.

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  10. grayscape

    February 10th, 2013

    Adjustment to Blue Eyed Cracker:

    Maps.

    Guns.

    Inanimate objects.

    +

    Sick, homicidal vermin (Otherwise known as a DEMOCRAT)

    = this.

    Take out the last factor and you have display pieces.

    Thumb up +1

     
  11. old_oaks

    February 10th, 2013

    My brother and I routinely have the same argument. He plugs the address into his android (I have one too) but always have my Garmin Nuvi as well. The argument always is about which is right, the googs p-hone or the dedicated GeePuS… The DEDICATED GeePuS is always right.

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  12. duna6430

    February 10th, 2013

    When you google for my address, you get our neighbor directly across the street. When we were house shopping we learned to take google w/a grain of salt (about 50% spot on, the rest at least w/in 100 or so yards.

    Happens ALL the time – I can’t believe a professional hit would rely on google maps – but if so, it’s a sad story.

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  13. Bad Brad

    February 10th, 2013

    While I’m programing and posting here, the wifes watching 48 hours on the same story. They’re saying it was the son. And he has been charged.

    Thumb up +1

     
  14. Unruly Refugee

    February 10th, 2013

    I’ve had my Garmin GPS route me several times to rivers where you could only cross with a boat.
    In Omaha the damn thing tried to route me into oncoming traffic up a one-way street.

    The way they did map addressing about 10 years ago in GIS (geographic information systems) class was to take the address at each end of the block and proportion in all the rest. My address out in the country showed up three miles away down the main highway. Today, you still can’t get within a half mile of my house in a map search. I hope I don’t wake up one day and find all my neighbors dead.
    Wait., … All except one anyway.

    Thumb up +1