Lead roof thief eyeballed targets on Google Earth
Swiped £100k of Pb in six months
A builder who used Google Earth to pinpoint lead roofs across south London and subsequently made off with £100k's worth of the valuable metal has been handed an eight-month suspended jail term, the Telegraph reports.
Tom Berge, 27, targeted Croydon Parish Church, Honeywood Museum in Carshalton and Sutton High School for Girls during his six-month, internet aided lead-lifting spree. A friend of the light-fingered perp, from Sutton, explained: "He sat at home and scoured south London for targets with just a few clicks of the mouse. He homed in on all sorts of buildings - many of them listed.
"He could tell the lead roofs apart on Google Earth as they were slightly darker than normal."
Having identifed a suitable property, Berge then climbed onto its roof, stripped the lead, abseiled down and offloaded his haul to scrap metal dealers.
He was cuffed in February and last week pleaded guilty to theft at Sutton magistrates court. As well as the suspended sentence, Berge copped 100 hours community service and a curfew for his trouble.
Detective Sergeant Chris Grant, who led the lead investigation, said: "He was a prolific offender up until the time he was arrested. Since then our crime figures for theft of lead have reduced significantly." ®
to be fair, many of these buildings would have been built centuries ago. No-one knew lead was dangerous back then, so groundwater contamination wouldn't have been an issue.
As the article says, many of the buildings are listed - which to summarize briefly in very simple terms means you can't change them.
Is this all you learned?
1) Consider the real consequences of Google Earth.
2) Google is at least partially liable for crimes such as this (aiding and abetting are going to take on an entirely new meaning in this age)
3) The potential for Google to become mired in multiple lawsuits as an accomplice to far worse crimes is just a matter of time. Tracking someone's comings and goings have been made extremely easy with this software. (i.e. I know when you aren't home, therefore I will rob your home).
Cyber-stalking, etc., just use your imagination. The criminals have just gotten started using theirs.
4) To start truly irritating Google, ask that your property be masked from their database. ;)
The thing I learned today
I learned that some buildings in the UK have a roof made out of lead (I guess you folk don't care about groundwater contamination?), and that in the context of a roof, lead is suddenly a precious metal.