Man On Beach Takes Down Drone By Throwing T-Shirt At It, Ends Up In Jail

A drone flies at the Abbaye Des-Vaux-de-Cernay, southwest of Paris, Thursday March 20, 2014. French drone operator Jean-Luc Fornier operated the remote controlled drone used to used to transmit live video of snowboar... A drone flies at the Abbaye Des-Vaux-de-Cernay, southwest of Paris, Thursday March 20, 2014. French drone operator Jean-Luc Fornier operated the remote controlled drone used to used to transmit live video of snowboard and ski jump competitions at the Sochi Olympic Games. (AP Photo/Bertrand Combaldieu) MORE LESS
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A Southern California man’s relaxing day at the beach came to an unpleasant conclusion this week. After taking down a drone that was hovering over his group of friends by throwing his T-shirt at it, Augustine Lehecka found himself behind bars at the Vista County jail, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Lehecka told the newspaper he “felt threatened” by the low-flying drone, which had four whirling blades and was equipped with a mounted camera. Out of concern for his friends’ privacy, he said he tossed his shirt toward the drone, knocking it into the sand. Ten minutes later, he was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on suspicion of felony vandalism and taken to jail.

Lehecka was released eight hours later after posting a $10,000 bail, according to the newspaper.

On Tuesday, however, the district attorney’s office declined to press charges against Lehecka.

The aircraft belonged to a pilot who works for a drone company, who said he was not invading the group’s privacy and suffered $750 in damage from the drone’s crash landing.

Recreational drones have become a headache for California officials, who say they’ve interfered with emergency crews‘ efforts to fight wildfires currently raging across the state. The U.S. Forest Service reported that drones sent by curious spectators eager for firsthand views of the flames have interfered with firefighting aircraft in 13 wildfires so far this year.

Though commercial drone traffic is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, personal drone use is not monitored by any government body. As drone prices continue to plunge, the Consumer Electronics Association has predicted U.S. sales will reach 700,000 this year.

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Notable Replies

  1. And any regulation or law governing their use will be delayed for years and years because no one will actually want to try to catch up with the technology.

  2. Avatar for vinny vinny says:

    If it’s low enough to catch with a balled up t-shirt, it seems to me (and apparently the DA) that it’s fair game.

  3. What in world was a law enforcement officer thinking? The drone is dangerous and was perched right above the people…low enough to be hit with a tee shirt. What could this cop have been thinking?

  4. Avatar for mantan mantan says:

    a drone that was hovering over his group of friends…pilot…said he was not invading the group’s privacy

    An innocent dronestander…

  5. Avatar for grawk grawk says:

    The only way to take down a drone is with an anti-drone-drone. Because whose going to arrest a drone?

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