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Earth, Google and Fire: Some jerk apparently tried to torch a Google mapping car

"How dare you attempt to map the world! This'll show you!"

Google uses satellite imagery for Google Earth. The MVPD should have called it a Google StreetView car, as it regularly uses vehicles to flesh out its cartographical knowledge.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Human beings do dumb crap all the time, there's no surprise there. But when people start going after people, vehicles or other nouns that are doing absolutely nothing wrong, that's really when you begin to question the motivations of your fellow man. Case in point, someone might have lit a Google mapping car on fire.

According to the Mountain View Police Department's blog (Google's headquartered in Mountain View, California), firefighters and officers responded to a report of a fire late last night. The found a few fire-damaged objects, including the ground itself, a bit of a building and, for some reason, a "Google Earth demo car," which is actually just a Google StreetView mapping car.

The police claimed that two "incendiary devices" were found at the scene. As it's an active investigation, the police can't comment further than the blog post.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that one of its StreetView mapping cars was involved in "vandalism," and that Google's security team is looking into the matter.

But seriously, who the hell tries to torch a car built for creating better maps? Either someone really loves waiting in traffic, or someone considers Google's mapping efforts to be a weird invasion of privacy, despite the fact that the car isn't asking to be let into your home and public roads are exactly that -- available to the public. Or maybe it was just a bored group of thrill-seeking teenagers.

Whatever the case may be, MVPD has the incendiary devices in the lab for testing, and the department will talk more about the case when new information comes to light.

Update, 12:26 p.m. Central: Added comments from a Google spokesperson and clarified the vehicle to which the MVPD was referring.