updated 3/31/2010 6:46:40 PM ET 2010-03-31T22:46:40

A Florida panhandle deputy was able to track down and arrest a man on charges of illegally dumping a boat near his home with a surprising tool: satellite pictures provided by Google Earth.

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Deputy Gregory Barnes used the images after finding an 18-foot boat dumped in an undeveloped subdivision about 15 miles north of Pensacola.

Google Earth shows archived satellite and aerial images of communities across the world. Barnes used it to look at the surrounding area and saw a fuzzy image of the vessel at Dwight Everett Foster's home.

Authorities say Foster admitted dumping the boat and his son later removed it.

Police say it cost $18 to dispose of the boat at a landfill. Foster faces a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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