#9: Garrido's van?

A followup on this earlier BB post about the wacko blog and gadget hallucinations of kidnapper/rapist (now also a murder suspect) Phillip Garrido.

Weighing in on that post, an astute BB commenter noticed that if you do a Google Maps search for 1554 Walnut Avenue, Antioch, CA -- the address of the Antioch home where Garrido detained Jaycee Dugard (and her children, fathered by rape) -- you can see an overhead view of all the tents, tarps and sheds that Garrido's parole officer(s) and local police were too incompetent to bother checking, despite the fact that the guy was a convicted rapist. The overhead view in Google Maps has since been widely reported and blogged, so that's old news 4 days later.

But not this. Check out what another commenter noticed. When you're at that address in Google Maps, switch over to Street View mode. You'll see something chilling. Right in the 1554 Walnut Avenue driveway, you see a beat-up van with a rusty, trashed exterior, and what looks like a man behind the steering wheel. Follow the van. Pull your POV out of that driveway, moving away on Walnut toward Bown, and look backwards toward the house on Street View. For what I think is, like, 6 blocks or more, that guy in that van is following the black Google VW with cameras mounted on it. Was that Garrido in the van? Is it possible he saw the Google van with all the gear on top, freaked out about being surveilled, and followed it for a while with interest and fear?Maybe, maybe not. IANALEO (I am not a law enforcement officer) so I don't know. Maybe I'm imagining this, and I probably need to stop obsessing about this story. But it's the creepiest thing I've ever seen on Google Street View.

Photos: Here's the Flickr set I created of the sequence within Google Maps. The final shot, before the van veers away, is at the top of this post.

Previously on BB: The blog of Philip Garrido, serial rapist and kidnapper: "sound control" gadget hallucinations.

74 Responses to “Did Google Street View spot rapist/kidnapper Garrido?”

  1. mric3 says:

    google would have all the data if he followed them for blocks
    if we find it share it
    google going to delete these views very soon

  2. Anonymous says:

    You know most of these so called “police/ parole officers” always have a chip on their shoulders, and even when they fail to do their jobs they appear arrogant like saying “what are you going to do”, let’s face it she who save herself, she was not save by the authorities. Does anyone believe that the authorities were investigating her disappearance? The car used in her kidnapping was in the backyard, the lazy ass cops didn’t even bother to go through the backyard when the information indicated that kids were living back there, they didn’t check local schools to see if the kids were going to school or even asked to see the kids, no report to child protective services, boy how lazy can you be and still pick up your public service check, not to mention the parole officers who failed to visit and find out where this freak was living and what he was doing, amazing, simply amazing.

  3. J France says:

    Ian: Here at BoingBoing we welcome your comments, unless we dont, then we’ll get disproportionately defensive, because how dare you don’t happily mutate along the exact same lines as everyone else here?

    Now… was my comment weird and/or wonderful? I need a flowchart to work out if it actually belongs here or not.

    Why must my internets be so hard?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ian Holmes – gawking is a natural reponse, which our better selves strive to resist… I think the authorities in Gloucester were wise to demolish the West’s house and turn the site into a garden… perhaps this will happen here too…

  5. mdh says:

    I have to wonder why the police or parole officers never apparently used Google maps or Microsoft Live’s… oh, Bing.com’s cool panoramic birds-eye aerial photo feature.

    so here’s my contribution to the rodeo.

    and Ian, you warm my heart.

  6. icky2000 says:

    @ XENI & ANTINOUS: I too don’t get the “why did you post this” arguments. It’s your blog so do what you want. However, I’m less clear about referring to the police as incompetent (Xeni) or noting that convicted felons do/should have fewer rights (Antinuous).

    We’ve heard other stories about kids not getting saved from horrible environments when social services or the police failed to follow up on a solid lead but I’ve not read about any of that happening here. So how were the police incompetent exactly? They are supposed to assume that everyone with a tent in the backyard is a rapist? If the freakin’ neighbors didn’t know this was going on while they lived 10 feet away from it for 18 years, how would you expect the police to know? If your answer is that there should be some program for investigating all convicted felons or rapists then fine, that’s an argument for your local legislator but still has nothing to do with the police who don’t write laws.

  7. its_called_liberty says:

    Who cares about controlling sound? JOHNROWLEY can control internet flame wars with his mind!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Antinous @ 30:

    MetaFilter commenters “nailed it” on 8/27. Not sure what that proves, but you seemed to think it was important.

    http://www.metafilter.com/84522/Lost-and-Found#2714910

  9. Antinous / Moderator says:

    noting that convicted felons do/should have fewer rights

    But, in fact, they do. If you’re on parole, you’re actually a non-incarcerated prisoner. They’re even exempt from the 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

    Convicted felons on parole generally can’t vote, serve on a jury, bear arms and various and sundry other civil rights guaranteed in the Constitution. They don’t have a ‘get out of search and seizure free’ card like the rest of us. I find this rather prudent. And I would expect that a reasonable society would put a convicted kidnapper and rapist on life parole.

  10. senorglory says:

    I think it’s interesting that google street view caught pics of the scene and the van, not because of my interest in gawking at crimes, but my interest in all things internet.

  11. Architexas says:

    @24

    As I read it (on BBC I think? Could have been CNN, I read too many news sources at lunch), the police went to his property not to check on the tents, but because a neighbor had reported seeing children on the property and was a wee bit suspicious as a result.

    You know, seeing as he was a convicted rapist.

    The police went out supposedly to check the property, didn’t check the backyard with all those tents and sheds, and left.

    That’s where the “incompetency” claim comes into play.

    That said, it doesn’t matter which way you “turn” the Googlemobile once you leave the street, the van doesn’t follow you, or at least not with the permutations of potential routes I followed.

  12. theawesomerobot says:

    It’s incredibly unfair to call the police involved here incompetent.

    As far as I know – having various tents in your back yard isn’t considered probable cause for an investigation, convicted felon or not.

    This guy was a felon on parole, but he still has a decent amount of rights – and unfortunately those rights allowed him to commit these crimes. I think the blame here falls more on the judicial system that allowed this guy to be put back on the streets far more than law enforcement itself.

    People, for some reason, love to think that the police just walk around tasing people to death – but the reality of it is that there are tens of thousands of them out there following the procedures, doing their jobs, and putting themselves at risk to protect some of the most ungrateful people on the planet.

  13. JIMWICh says:

    > #33 posted by Ian Holmes, August 31, 2009 4:57 PM
    > …Jimwich and others, I take your point that many
    > readers may actually just enjoy the simple macabre
    > obsession for what it is, but (running with this
    > for a moment) surely the reactions of shock and
    > outrage from less-macabre straight people (like me?)
    > are part of what makes that fun?

    Heh. No, sadly, comments like yours are, I”m afraid, distinctly unfun and most definitely not part of what I enjoy about bOING bOING.

    I can’t be alone among the many old school fans ‘n pals that constantly wonder why the comment threads here so often go off the rails. Back in the ‘zine days we used to refer to nORMALs and other distinctly unhappy mutants.

    And I’ll also bet that I’m not the only one who’s wondered if somehow the comment threads of bOING bOING and Reddit somehow got switched in the nursery. Since when I read Reddit comment threads I always think that they are exactly what I would imagine the comment threads here *ought* to be like. And yet often aren’t for some confounded reason.

    [scratches noggin]

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hm. I saw the google car driving near my place one day, and actually came down the lane to our farm. although it was the GPS mapping one, as opposed to street view, i still thought it was pretty exciting, and followed him briefly to see what his set up was.

    tried to explain it to my father, who then got the impression that it was some little spycar taking photos of his property and machinery (possibly to report to the local council or tax department…?) and went to talk to the ‘google man’, who got scared and hooned off before dad could get to him! So i presume that somewhere near our place the road abruptly does a U-turn and bolts!

    (ps, i dont live in a tent, and he is my real father!)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why are some people fascinated by such stories? Sometimes the interest seems almost prurient. And in a way, maybe it is.

    I suspect that some (almost always men) deep down, almost wish, in ways they could never acknowledge even to themselves, that they too could have a compliant victim. A sex slave, if you will, but more than that, a human being who is entirely in their control.

    Sick? Today, that’s how it’s viewed, but just look at all the historical cultures in which slavery — the total control of another human being — was an accepted norm.

    Reading about others’ crimes might give such a person a little vicarious thrill, easily masked — even to themselves — by their righteous indignation at the heinous nature of the crime.

    I’m not denigrating such people. This may even benefit society, in a way. I suspect that it helps to keep them disciplined, ensuring that they never really act on these vague, unsettling desires.

  16. Takuan says:

    enjoy the Door-sills of the Equator!

  17. Steve says:

    Ok, I slept on it. The incompetent cheap shot was still uncalled for. I realize it’s hard to stifle the urge to flog the police twice a day, but if they had searched his property, then the story would have gone all ACLU giddy. If you take the time to read how he was caught, I’d say the authorities should be COMMENDED.

  18. Ugly Canuck says:

    Re: police incompetence. (Or was it just a mistake?)

    The sheriff actually apologized for this….if he apologized, there’s a reason (and good on him for doing so).

    In my experience most police never apologize. They seem to live by what John Wayne once said: “Never apologize. It makes you seem weak”.

    The apology, itself, made headlines in my neck of the great North woods. It is really quite rare for the police to publicly apologize: and when they do, they ought to at least be commended for it.

    And therefore do I comment here: so to commend them therefor.

  19. Ugly Canuck says:

    After all,the police here simply were not suspicious enough.

    All good cops IMO are suspicious of others. As they should be.

  20. emilydickinsonridesabmx says:

    It would be interesting to crowd source a project to count how often other vehicles appear behind the Google cam car, for how long, etc. Just to see if this something that is mundane statistically.

    I realize that would be a very boring project to undertake, at least the car counting end of it.

  21. Ian Holmes says:

    Jimwich, are you kidding? Ravers weren’t responsible. I had to start going to Burning Man before I saw anything like that in the counterculture.

    OTOH, many of the 60′s- and 70′s-era hippies seem profoundly concerned with their dooty to the planet. So, maybe your generation of irresponsible zine readers is the outlier.

    We are talking about the 80′s, right? Might explain it. I was wildly pirating 8-bit computer games back then. I was about as responsible as Ebola.

  22. Ian Holmes says:

    @Xeni

    I apologize for expressing my personal discomfort in such a muddled outpouring. Thank you (and Antinous, and several commenters) for patiently explaining the flowchart and giving me space to figure out what I wanted to say in a non-offensive way.

    I regret the accusations of prurience/exploitation/etc and also that they may have undermined the deeper and simpler point that I was trying to get at, which was expressed much more clearly by Anon@36:


    gawking is a natural reponse, which our better selves strive to resist… I think the authorities in Gloucester were wise to demolish the West’s house and turn the site into a garden… perhaps this will happen here too…

    As for Jimwich @44, I appreciate your efforts to defend and define a cherished space, you old-school zine-scener. I came of age in the 90′s rave scene, and believe in radical inclusion & self-expression, but also civic responsibility. Sometimes you find yourself teasing apart conflicts between such values, and a little patience never hurts with those who are working their way through such issues; confusion can happen to any of us, from time to time, and I doubt that anyone is immune from such philosophical puzzles just because they know the k00l places to hang out. Like Reddit. (FWIW, I think friendfeed is more interesting because real collaborative science is actually happening there, but I digress)

    Here are the comments of Takuan’s and Xeni’s that I mentioned, from the Jonestown post. I think they are quite wonderful

    http://boingboing.net/2008/11/19/jonestown-30-years-l-2.html#comment-334807

    Even mutants can freak out and it is an enlightened countercultural community that gently sets them straight rather than tearing them to bits like piranhas — I’m glad the latter did not happen here — thanks BB commenters for your understanding

  23. Ian Holmes says:

    Counting cars. *shudders* Now THAT’S macabre.

  24. Ian Holmes says:

    Steve @56


    If you take the time to read how he was caught, I’d say the authorities should be COMMENDED.

    go go UC Berkeley police! perhaps people will stop being so down on them now, for trying to haul that longhair student off campus in 1964.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The first day this story broke, I Googled around to find this guy’s address, then used Google Maps to get an overhead view of the guy’s place. The article I read said that no officials saw anything untoward in the backyard, but all that stuff back there would have raised an eyebrow with me if I were a PO.

  26. Ugly Canuck says:

    This guy is a genuine scary monster, a genuine super-creep….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHywdqH3F6Y

  27. kateblack says:

    Oh look! CNN found this story too, with no attribution.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2009/09/03/oppmann.google.suspect.cnn

  28. Anonymous says:

    boy oh boy, after 8 years finally make a my first comment, and it makes a secondary blurb, AND co-incidentally that day i had put on my boingboing ‘bunbun’ tshirt on for the first time.

  29. jahknow says:

    I’m still not convinced that it isn’t the 4chan Party Van….

  30. Bender says:

    I’m pretty sure he’d have to be in the van already at the time the google vehicle passed, so it’s not like he ran to his van to make chase.

    I could imagine that he could have been curious and/or scared once he saw it and followed it for a while. That being said, I might follow it half a block myself just for curiosity’s sake.

  31. johnrowley says:

    thnk wht s trly crpy s yr cvrg f ths stry. Y sm t hv mcbr rbbr-knckng ntrst n ths cs. Th ntl pst n ths stry ws f ntrst n tht th lw fld t d t’s dty prprly nd tht ggl mps cld hv bn sd t ssss th prprty f ths crmnl.

    Wht s s yr strng fscntd t ths mgs nw? hp, f thy hvn’t dn lrdy, tht ths mgs hv bn tkn dwn frm ggl mps by nw. Th thrts n nglnd dstryd th hs f Frd nd Rsmry Wst wh bsd thr wn chldrn nd trtrd nd rpd yng wmn. Thr rsnng ws tht f th hs ws lft stndng t wld ttrct cnstnt vsts frm glsh crm trsts. Fr th sm rsn dvrtsng th lctn f ths crms n bng bng by pntng t ths mps s rrspnsbl nd bhvr smlr t tht f trsts wh g t s th lctns f ttrcts.

    rd yr cvrg n th lst pst nd t nvr rlly cm t nythng thr thn mcbr ntrst. Pls drp ths stry nw.

  32. justthefax says:

    Well, one of the more amazing things mentioned in all the coverage around this story has been that the sedan that the stepfather saw her get snatched into back in 1991 was found in the guy’s driveway after he was arrested.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090828/ap_on_re_us/us_kidnapped_girl_found

    So, no, that’s not the “very same van” she was pulled into 18 years ago.

  33. mdh says:

    yeah Xeni, how dare you use your own blog to share your interests and obsessions with the world. And the very nerve of being so good at it… it wounds us all.

  34. Ian Holmes says:

    +1 JohnRowley.

    Shortly after the vaguely-similar serial killer Fred West was discovered in the UK, I walked past his house in Gloucester. I realized this was a form of serial killer voyeurism and I immediately felt guilty. I do not seek to repeat the experience.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_West

    After your original post, Xeni, I used the word “Xenisploitation” in the comments. This was perhaps excessive, although I notice that particular (anonymous) comment never made it onto the website, but is still being held by approval for the moderator, who perhaps felt that anonymous criticism of your serial killer coverage was toxic.

    However, I do agree with John that this coverage appears to verge on the prurient/macabre, and I wonder if you can expand on or correct this impression.

    I understand that there may be a public interest in recording the horrible. However it can be hard to see and I don’t think it would do any harm for you to articulate this from time to time, beyond just posting unicorn chasers.

    I hope you do not find these questions disrespectful; it is of course your blog; I have been reading it for a few years now, and this isn’t the first time I’ve wondered about this (c.f. e.g. Jim Jones coverage), so I hope you will regard this as a sincere query and not a drive-by troll.

  35. mdh says:

    uglycanuck –

    he’s a supercreep, supercreep, he’s supercreepay.

  36. Ian Holmes says:

    JohnRowley disemvowelled? Really? Well, maybe that is an answer in itself. I wonder if you will disemvowel or block my comment. I have to admit to a little disappointment.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I wonder if you will disemvowel or block my comment.

      Were you planning to tell Xeni what she can and cannot post on her blog? Do we need to make a flow chart?

  37. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Ian,

    I wasn’t accusing you of that. That was the point of the flow chart; if NO, proceed to DON’T WORRY.

  38. Quothz says:

    I’ve no real comment except t’say that I can understand the compulsion: For a time I was fascinated with the Jack the Ripper murders. Although the “unsolved” thing contributed to my interest, the sheer horror of the murders kept my mind pinned to the topic for some small while.

    Metacommentary: Jimwich, this is one case where I’d hesitate to call Xeni’s obsession “delightful”. Understandable, yeah, delightful, not… not so much.

    Anon #12: The post to which you refer has been disemvowelled. Check out the moderatious guidelines link up at the top o’ the page and you’ll soon be one of the cool kids like us.

  39. Xeni Jardin says:

    Antinous, I believe you and I have an e-date to work on that flow chart today, anyway. I’ll make sure to report back to the world on our findings.

  40. Anonymous says:

    For those of you who choose not to use vowels in your comments I hope you realize that for every 1 of you who think its is clever or perhaps are too lazy to use words, there are many who don’t read you because we are too lazy to work at dcfrng yr nnsnc

  41. Anonymous says:

    The question as to whether the police should have searched the property isn’t just your basic ACLU privacy issue. The guy was a registered sex offender on probation wearing an ankle bracelet. That means his expectation of privacy was, basically, non-existent. The neighbors didn’t just complain that there were tents in his yard — they complained that there were tents WITH LITTLE GIRLS in them in his yard. It all adds up to incomprehensibility.

  42. mdh says:

    I have to admit to a little disappointment.

    … in the free ice cream.

    really, you have to?

  43. Ian Holmes says:

    Were you planning to tell Xeni what she can and cannot post on her blog?

    Of course not; I hoped to avoid that accusation by qualifying my question with statements like “I hope you do not find these questions disrespectful” and “it is of course your blog”.

    The tone of Xeni’s post is that she is obsessed with this story, despite herself. I feel that is a perfectly understandable tone for a blog post.

    In posting a comment about my own experience (of feeling rather sleazy after checking out Fred West’s place), I sought to relate to her experiences.

    I understand that a blog is about self-expression. I wouldn’t seek to suppress that; no-one should; I would like to emphasize and affirm my believe in that fairly critical point of internet culture.

    Nevertheless, I believe there is still room for me to ask the questions that I asked. I’m curious about the obsession that Xeni reports, as it doesn’t seem entirely healthy, and I share that (possibly unhealthy) obsession and have experienced it in the past; and I’m not even the first commenter to raise this question.

    I am registered as a happy mutant on this blog and my comment was not censorial or (IMO) aggravating. If you think that, even so, my questions are outside your notional flow-chart then yes, I probably could use a copy of that chart.

    Yours fraternally and respectfully,
    Ian

  44. StudioRobot says:

    Ummmm…

    This shit is interesting. Post away Xeni. *Most* of us loyal followers share your curiosity with such subjects. What is interesting about this post isn’t “OMG LETS FOLLOW HIMMMMM”, but that Google actually caught him by coincidence. Im sure you’d post that they caught your grandma on camera if that were true, also.

    Write in to Nancy Grace if you are so concerned about exploitation.

  45. Ian Holmes says:

    Well, it seems I’m in an unpopular minority. Go go, “supercreepay”, knock yourselves out on the free ice cream, and I’ll shut up.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I agree he should have served all the time for his first offense, but don’t let our authorities off the hook. It gets worse after you read more about the facts. I guess she was taken in 1991, and in 1993 (only two years later) after violating probation he spent for 4 months in federal prison (California have yet to release any details of that violation or explain why he was again released into the community). Nevada officials said they were never notified of Garrido’s parole violation, which would have allowed the state to revoke his parole.

    Had California parole inspected his home in 1993, we would not be here now asking questions, we would be saying our system works, now I am not sure of anything. Because now I wonder how many more of these freaks are in our country doing the same thing under the noses of our so called authorities.

    I can only say if you have a neighbor that fits this profile, call and call again to try to ensure that this does not happen again. Simply amazing.

  47. Anonymous says:

    @ #12 – yes, and who also apparently are too dumb to figure out that those posts are not typed like that in the first place.

  48. Connie H. says:

    Reading about the location where Garrido lived — the lack of police interest was a feature, because it’s unincorporated land, meaning a lack of dedicated police/municipal oversight.

    I doubt I could leave a tent up in my backyard for a week before I’d get a reminder from my city that I’m not allowed to put up permanent structures without a permit. Yeah, it’s a bit of Big Brother, but on the other hand, I’m relatively sure that there’s no Garridos living in my ‘hood.

  49. Ian Holmes says:

    OK I can’t shut up, I lied. I’ll just say one more thing, which was that I really freaked out when reading the Jim Jones coverage and audiotape transcripts (check my comments), and Takuan stepped in with a very helpful “just look away” and a sutra for banishing demons (I still love Takuan for that).

    Perhaps my freaking out was a more honest response than asking Xeni why she put the post up. Certainly it got a more empathetic response. Xeni responded to my Jim Jones freakout with a rather more thoughtful comment about the public interest of her post, and I had hoped to solicit something similar.

  50. Anonymous says:

    That is the very definition of a “rape van.”

  51. PixelFish says:

    Slightly off-topic, have you seen the shelf of science fiction that was found on the Garrido property? You can see Asimov, Bear, Eddings, McCaffrey, Wrede, Robert Jordan, etc on the shelves.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1209966/Jaycee-Lee-Dugards-prison-First-pictures-filthy-backyard-jail-religious-fanatic-held-kidnapped-girl.html

    (There was ANOTHER article that said this must be Garrido’s shelf because of all the Koontz, and noted that there was nothing on the shelf that a typical girl would read, which was news to me since minus the Koontz, it looked just like my high school reading bookshelf.)

  52. roboton says:

    how cool would it be if the google bug freaked him out so much that he turned himself in?

  53. Anonymous says:

    a CNN news article said he had a window-less van.

  54. JIMWICh says:

    This is both so utterly creepy and I’d be worried if Xeni didn’t pull it out of the previous discussion thread and post it here separately. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a Google Street View sequence that’s this weird.

    As for the tone of Xeni indicating she’s obsessed…

    Ahahahaha! The day Xeni Jardin stops being delightfully obsessed by things like this will be a sad day for bOING bOING indeed!

  55. Anonymous says:

    he followed the google van because he thought it had a box that could see other peoples thoughts.

  56. JIMWICh says:

    > #52 posted by Quothz, August 31, 2009 10:29 PM
    > …
    > Metacommentary: Jimwich, this is one case where
    > I’d hesitate to call Xeni’s obsession “delightful”.
    > Understandable, yeah, delightful, not… not so much.

    Note that I remarked on Xeni’s “delightful obsessions” (meaning how delightful it is that she is continually excited by and obsessed by all things novel, which this subject certainly qualifies as), and not, as you’ve seemed to misread and misinterpret, that all things she is obsessed by are delightful.

    To me, Xeni is the very embodiment of one of the original cartoon pillars of bOING bOING and that’s delightful obsession with all things novel. Novelties that overlap like this one: macabre story in the news + Google Street View + weird timely coincidence = a score so high on the bOING bOING novelty meter that it’s funny anyone could even be unclear on why it was posted.

    > #48 posted by Ian Holmes, August 31, 2009 7:54 PM
    > …
    > As for Jimwich @44, I appreciate your efforts to
    > defend and define a cherished space, you old-school
    > zine-scener. I came of age in the 90′s rave scene,
    > and believe in radical inclusion & self-expression,
    > but also civic responsibility.

    Heh heh heh… Perhaps there is some entertainment value to your kind of post, after all. I never could’ve imagined anything as weirdly absurd as some sorta generational division between the ‘zine era and those who came of age in the 90s rave scene (!) and this evidently making your generation more inclined toward “believing in civic responsibility.”

    ORLY? [twirls light stick]

  57. Anonymous says:

    whoa, my car is in my driveway on google maps too. my brain is melting……….

  58. Sam says:

    Fill me in on why the police were being incompetent when they didn’t check the tents? I mean I remember hearing something about the cops coming to his house and not finding anything, but to enter his home they would need probably cause. A former rape conviction is not, as far as I know, probable cause.

    I mean obviously it would have been great if the cops stopped this guy a long time ago, but we still have to follow the rule of law.

    Or did I miss some part of the story?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      A former rape conviction is not, as far as I know, probable cause.

      Felon. On parole. He doesn’t have many of the rights that non-felons have.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Just a technical observation. The Google recording of the street view of Bown Lane with the view of the van behind the car is NOT the recording of the view of Viera Ave. Viera being a longer street was likely recorded in a straight line. Bown Lane, Walnut Ave and Santa Fe Ave were recorded separated as a subset probably within a short time of the Viera recording. Very slight changes in shadows and sun angles reveal the difference.

    Google does a nearly invisible splice of all these views. But if you look at views of more crowed streets, you’ll see any number of cars, trucks and buses and people suddenly appearing or disappearing when you turn off or onto a side street. In this case, the split occurs at the t-junction of Bown and Viera. as soon as you click left or right at the “t” your now on different recording.

    This means when we view the drive down Viera, the van can be back at the house or across town, we don’t know. This also means he could have followed the Google car for miles after turning onto Viera. It might be worth checking other nearby streets within some reasonable radius. If he was paranoid enough, he could have followed the car anywhere in the area. The Google driver is probably used to being followed. It’s an interesting question. I agree it is creepy seeing him follow the car.

  60. HeruRaHa says:

    I don’t understand what it is about the internet that often turns people into such raving moralists.

    I read about 30% of the articles on BB… many simply don’t interest me, the occasional one I even find a little tasteless…

    I read Helter Skelter when I was 12… I love those forensic files shows… and I have a total macabre interest in things like this.

    You don’t? Change the channel, turn off the tv/computer. Spare us your theories about how it’s the downfall of western culture that some of us are fascinated by the gruesome underbelly of the world we live in.

  61. naufragio says:

    Is it possible he saw the Google van with all the gear on top, freaked out about being surveilled, and followed it for a while with interest and fear?

    Maybe. It’s also possible he just happened to be driving in the same direction as the van, at the same time.

  62. am says:

    It’s interesting, but not news/original to BB.

    It was widely blogged about a few days ago.

    8/29:
    http://www.streetviewfun.com/2009/psychopath-stalking-the-google-car/

    Someone else who discovered it independently did a long post about discovering this coincidence and how to follow the van, but I can’t find that right now.

  63. Antinous / Moderator says:

    AM,

    RTFA and your own link. Our commenters nailed it on 8/28. Your linked article is from 8/29.

  64. Anonymous says:

    two points: when you hear of some horrible event it is completely appropriate for you to try to figure out how society can avoid such events, and prudent for you to ask: how can I make sure that I avoid such things in my life and my neighborhood? studying such things needs no justification and is not prurient or nutty. Objecting to same seems to be a bit nutty to me, but most of us are a bit nutty. Of course if there is an ulterior motive to such objection,like skeletons in a closet, that is another matter.

    Second, I gather from various posts here that at one point a neighbor called the police about hearing children on the premises. A policeman investigated by looking inside the house, but did not look in the yard, and then left.
    If this is a fact it represents police incompetence. First, a neighbor is far more likely to hear activities outside the house than inside it. Looking only inside the house when there are tents and out buildings was a poor excuse for an investigation.
    To be sure this is not as bad as the action of the police in the Gacy case, when a naked hysterical child who spoke no English was found by the police and returned to Gacy, who then killed him.
    The only mitigating circumstance is that this case actually ended without bloodshed despite the lackluster investigation at that time.

  65. Djhopscotch says:

    “..local police were too incompetent to bother checking, despite the fact that the guy was a convicted rapist.”

    As far as parolees go Garrido was a success. He lived with his wife in a home he owned, worked at this own business, He was a man of religion, he showed no obvious signs of illegal drugs use, and he didn’t engage in gang activities. He did not fit a threat profile directed historically at the urban poor and minorities, so he went unnoticed as he committed his crimes.

  66. Anonymous says:

    This is something worth of investigation. W Gibson meets The ring in a rare example of virtual reality everting..
    Interesting shit. I felt stalked for a second, seeing that van following my streetview…

  67. Ian Holmes says:

    Antinous @17, yes I take your point that the earlier commenter was more preachy; then again, your “are you telling Xeni what to post” comment was directed at me, not the other guy.

    Heruraha @26, I had hoped that my comment was reflective rather than “moralizing”. I was talking about and analyzing my own emotions, and asking Xeni if she could articulate hers (which she has done in the past). Maybe I was a bit too heavy-handed. Personally however I don’t think it should be off-limits to express a difference of taste. If I was talking to a friend and they thought I was being tasteless, I’d rather they expressed this as a polite inquiry into my aesthetic judgment, instead of just staying tight-lipped. Whatever.

    Jimwich and others, I take your point that many readers may actually just enjoy the simple macabre obsession for what it is, but (running with this for a moment) surely the reactions of shock and outrage from less-macabre straight people (like me?) are part of what makes that fun?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      @Ian, I appreciate the fact that you’re a regular reader, and that you’ve taken the time to share the strong feelings you have about this particular post.

      I think I’ve said about as much as I want to say about my own subjective, internal emotional or intellectual reasons for blogging about this subject. Like most of the other things I blog, I blogged it because I’m thinking about it. It interests me and disturbs me. So it belongs here.

      Long conversations about whether this post is wonderful or not are utterly boring and banal. I don’t want to engage in them. If folks don’t dig it, move along to the next BB post, or if it’s so upsetting that you don’t want to tune in, by all means don’t. There are many other places to direct your attention.

      BB is still a “personal blog” for each of us who contribute. I hope it always stays that way.

      Some of the things that pass through my awareness throughout the day are pleasant diversions. Some are interesting intellectual puzzles.Some of them are creepy or scary. This is one of the latter. All of those types of topics end up on BB.

      I won’t engage further in meta-analysis about this post, though, that’s boring and not where I want to spend my attention today.

      If others want to engage in that sort of analysis here, I’m totally cool with that, so long as there’s no “WAAAAAH WAHHHH THIS ISN’T WONDERFUL” or “YOU SUCK FOR FINDING THIS INTERESTING.” Sorry, those are magic words that earn you a can of whupass and a lack of vowels around these parts.

  68. mdh says:

    Ian – Personally however I don’t think it should be off-limits to express a difference of taste.

    That is so much more reasonable than your entry to the room. Thanks for coming around.

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