Mafia Boss On The Run For 20 Years Arrested After Being Spotted On Google Maps

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockJan 6 2022, 14:47 UTC
Google Maps

Try not to stand in front of a Google Maps car if you are on the run from international police. Image credit: Google Maps

Google Maps is a great resource whether you are trying to find where you need to go or locating mafia bosses who have been on the run for decades, apparently.

Gioacchino Gammino, 61, a convicted murderer and notorious Italian gangster, escaped from a prison in Rome in 2002. From there he headed to Spain, where he changed his identity and began a new life as "Manuel", working as a chef at the restaurant Cocina de Manu in Galapagar, where he served several Sicilian dishes.


The former member of the Sicilian Stidda mafia evaded capture for almost 20 years under his new identity and was taken aback when he was found by the police.

 "How did you find me?" he reportedly said upon his arrest. "I haven't even called my family for 10 years."

The Sicilian police had suspected that Gammino was in Spain, but the sighting on Google Maps of a man matching his description helped them locate him at the end of last year. They later found photos of Gammino posted to the Cocina de Manu Facebook page, confirming his recent whereabouts. 

"It’s not as if we spend our days wading through Google Maps to find fugitives,” Palermo prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi told the Guardian of the arrest. “There were many previous and long investigations, which led us to Spain. We were on a good path, with Google Maps helping to confirm our investigations.”


Gammino had been serving a life sentence when he escaped prison in 2002, while a film was being made at the premises. He was wanted for murder and in relation to a number of other crimes related to the Stidda mafia's activities.

The mobster is now in police custody in Spain, while Spanish and Italian police will attempt to move him back to Italy by the end of February.

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