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Man who 'felt Google was watching him' arrested for torching Street View car

Assailant allegedly torched company's cars previously and fired shots through a Google office window

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2016, 4:46am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2016, 12:08pm

Prosecutors have charged an Oakland man who "felt Google was watching him" for setting one of the company's Street View vehicles on fire.

Police arrested Raul Diaz on the Google campus on June 30 and found a firearms case and items to make a pipe bomb in his car, according to an affidavit filed July 1 with the US District Court in San Jose.

Federal prosecutors charged Diaz with one count of arson. Diaz also admitted under questioning that he was behind two other attacks on Google's campus, including torching a self-driving car and shooting through an office window, according to the affidavit. 

When police arrested Diaz, he told officers that he had intended to shoot into another Google building and that "he felt Google was watching him and that made him upset," according to the sworn statement.

The series of attacks on Google's campus began in May after Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Google Street View car on its Mountain View campus. On May 19, a Google employee spotted a man throwing what looked like beer bottles at the car, only to see one erupt in flames after it bounced off the hood. The car wasn't damaged, but the ground was scorched where the bottle had exploded. 

A month later, police responded after shots were fired through a window of one of Google's buildings. The five projectiles, either bullets or pellets the report says, were covered in a white substance that's still being tested, according to the affidavit.

On June 19, another car on Google's campus was set on fire using what looked like a squirt gun filled with gasoline or another flammable liquid, the affidavit said. In the filing, police claim it was a self-driving car that was destroyed, but a Google spokesperson told the San Jose Mercury News Tuesday that a self-driving car was not involved in the series of attacks.

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