East Williamsburg Drug Dealers Caught on Google Street View

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Photo: Google Street View

Finally, some good news about Google Street View! Things looked bleak for the tech giant after its Street View cars were found guilty of violating privacy laws in Canada and the U.K. for accidentally hoovering up e-mails and passwords from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. The FCC just launched an investigation to see whether the service violated the Wiretap Act, and after the FTC dropped its investigation, a conservative watchdog group tried to compare Google to Halliburton. (Nice try, but you're missing billions of dollars in federal contracts, direct ties to the White House, and Dick Cheney's coal-black heart to really make the charge stick.) But this week, Street View is getting a bit of positive press with a couple bids as a crime-stopping force for good (see, we told you they weren't evil), including helping to capture a drug ring in East Williamsburg.

The images show a trio of drug dealers hanging out outside Neighborhood Grocery on the northeast corner of Jackson Street and Kingsland Avenue, where they set up shop within 1,000 feet of a school. Those three men, along with four others, were arrested in a sting yesterday by cops disguised as "heroin-hooked hipsters" — presumably the crew's typical clientele. Not pictured here, the dozen or so pairs of shoes hanging on the power line above the bodega.

If word about this gets around, Google might want to be careful about sending its cars to the wrong street corner. The guy in the red jacket already didn't seem that keen (click through to the Street View feature) on the brightly painted car and its camera stick riding by.

Google Street View helps capture drug-ring suspects [NYP]
Suspected smack peddlers in Brooklyn caught by Google maps, cops [NYDN]