Did Google Street View Just Catch a Thief?

When 11-year-old Reuben Soames searched for his family's address on Google Maps, he was just looking for a picture of their home. He ended up finding a man apparently in the midst of stealing his family's caravan.

In 2009, the Soames' travel trailer was stolen from their driveway, and the culprit was never found. Until now! They think. Oddly enough, the camera-equipped Google car that passed by the Soames residence when taking photographs for Street View seems to have taken a picture of the guy who stole the trailer—right before he stole it. That's him, right there, standing next to the SUV and buttoning up his pants.

The Soames believe that rather than being a kindly stranger who just happened to park in their driveway to fiddle with his waistband, the guy is the thief who took their caravan—and that the SUV is the one he used to haul it. Police released a screenshot of the guy's face, and are encouraging people to call in with information.

Should be easy enough to find him by his car's license plate, right? Not quite: Google blurs out all identifying features like license plates, and after keeping the non-blurred copies for a year, renders them irreversibly indecipherable. Since the caravan was stolen more than a year ago, the picture is already in a permanently-obscured state. The man's photo, though, is still out there, and the Derbyshire police hope someone recognizes him.

[Jalopnik]