Vandals throw rocks at a drone, threaten to handcuff the pilot

Jan 18, 2022

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Vandals throw rocks at a drone, threaten to handcuff the pilot

Jan 18, 2022

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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When you fly your drone legally and respect all the rules and regulations, there’s nothing to worry about, right? Well, legally there isn’t, but there are always people who could ruin all the fun for you. Peter Owen recently had a very unpleasant experience, to say the least, while flying his DJI Mavic Mini. A group of vandals was throwing rocks at his drone and later threatened to “arrest” him if he didn’t delete the footage.

https://youtu.be/6Lp_VebvOGI

As Peter points out, he always does a research before flying a drone to make sure it’s legal. He wanted to shoot near a bridge, and B4UFLY app confirmed that the location was safe to fly a drone legally. So, he packed up his gear and hiked a few miles to the location.

Before arriving at the bridge, Peter unpacked the drone and started flying and filming. But there were around seven men standing near the bridge who were throwing rocks at the drone. Unfortunately, as Peter only watched it on his phone, he couldn’t see what was going on. The drone returned, he packed up, and decided to hike the rest of the way until he reached the bridge.

As he arrived, one of the guys confronted him and asked him to turn off the drone, and Peter did so. The guy required that he deleted the videos. Peter refused, but then the guy said “Well, then I’m going to arrest you.” He turned to another man in the group and said: “Jimmy, get the handcuffs,” and Jimmy told Peter: “Run, just run!”

But Peter stayed there, being utterly confused, with a thousand thoughts rushing through his mind. Were they undercover cops? Did they have guns? He was alone there, and there were around seven obviously aggressive men who confronted him. And as you can see in the video – there was no one else around.

Then it occurred to him – you can delete the video from the DJI app, but it will still remain on the SD card. So, he played it cool. He deleted the video from the app and showed it to the men to convince them that the footage was gone.

One of the guys then asked if Peter’s drone was registered. He explained that it wasn’t because it’s under 250g, adding that he was just a hobbyist. The man apparently took a friendlier stance from there, saying that it was okay if Peter wanted to film videos on the other side of the bridge, but stay away from the side where they were standing. Yeeeah, I’m as confused as you are.

However, Peter decided to just go back. When he got home, he downloaded the video from his memory card, and on the computer he finally saw what was going on. So, he assumes that the guy probably didn’t want Peter to have the evidence that he was throwing rocks at his drone, and that’s why he insisted that Peter deleted the video.

Whatever the reason for such behavior was, it’s not how you treat people. From throwing rocks at someone else’s property to threatening them, none of it can be justified.

“Continue to try and fly safely and abide by the rules, but if it’s not the wind or if it’s not a rock you’re gonna run into, you also have to worry about vandals,” Peter concludes in his video. Thankfully, he got home safe and unhurt, but I certainly hope that those vandals won’t get away with their behavior if they ever decide to do it again.

[Drone Drama: Vandals throw ROCKS at my drone and threaten to ARREST me!! | Peter Owen]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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9 responses to “Vandals throw rocks at a drone, threaten to handcuff the pilot”

  1. danielfeldt Avatar
    danielfeldt

    Some of us go to public places to get away from civilization and human influence. Some of us don’t want to be accosted by an annoying toy. Some of us want to enjoy ourselves in peace. While the people in this article shouldn’t have been idiots, I’m fully aware and have experienced people flying drones overhead with bad intentions.

    I was in Lone Pine, California enjoying my morning when a drone came down into my camp and circled my truck a few times at maybe 20 feet or so. I threw rocks at it as well. An hour later it was crashed into the boulders behind my camp. Fitting they would lose their $800 after accosting me.

    Another time, my mom was in her hot tub and the rental occupants across the street hovered their drone directly overhead maybe 100 feet up. The police got involved. There is a reason she moved up into the hills and has 20 foot arborvitae surrounding the property – PRIVACY.

    Another time, I was at the Devils Golf Course in Death Valley, a National Park where it is prohibited by law. People don’t care. They fly anyhow.

    Some of us are sick of these stupid toys and the oversized children who fly them.

    1. jazzmsngr Avatar
      jazzmsngr

      Some of us are sick of entitled people who think they own public spaces. If a drone is flying legally with a pilot that is doing no harm and following the rules then doing what you say here is no different then people “who are tired of tripods in the woods” so they attack a photographer… Or think they can stop someone from taking street photos in broad daylight in the city. Sorry man you don’t own the world. There are rules. And they should be followed. And if people are following them, leave them the hell alone. I have made A LOT of money with my drone. I have also invested A LOT of time and knowledge, more then I probably even need… so for you to call it toy and generalize drone flight to a bad experience you had is pretty pathetic. Go invest in something and have someone tell you your just an oversized kid.

      1. John Beatty Avatar
        John Beatty

        sir, you may be a little confused in your remarks. Please read Danial’s entire post. All of the instances are wrong uses of a drone showing either dangerous or unlawful uses. I have no issue with Drones when they are used with responsibility and lawfully…just like using a camera and tripod.

        1. danielfeldt Avatar
          danielfeldt

          Thanks John, that was my point exactly. The people who use drones like toys are oversized children. If you are out taking photos legally, great. If you are out making a video legally, great.

      2. danielfeldt Avatar
        danielfeldt

        Good to see you missed the point of my comment – When people use drones LIKE TOYS and care only about themselves they are OVERSIZED CHILDREN. If you take a moment you’ll see all of my examples are of people using these things to harass others. That is NOT OKAY. I made a point which rubbed your booty hole raw, you mad bro?

        And just as you said “There are rules. And they should be followed. And if people are following them, leave them the hell alone.” I followed the rules in posting my opinion and pointing out how drones are used incorrectly to harass others. Go be PATHETIC somewhere else. THIS guy doesn’t give a shit what YOU think.

        So….how about you leave me the HELL ALONE?

      3. jazzmsngr_plays_with_toys Avatar
        jazzmsngr_plays_with_toys

        Go invest in reading comprehension classes. YOU ARE AN OVERSIZED CHILD.

    2. Madara Avatar
      Madara

      I’m sick of oversized children throwing rocks instead of talking to someone like a human being.

  2. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
    Arthur_P_Dent

    Photography is not a crime. These kind of things are why I carry a monopod with me.

  3. John Beatty Avatar
    John Beatty

    In our group of photogs, several have incorporated drone usage and more are adding to it. Drones, just like a lot of things we use are done so by those that have morals and common sense. But, there are those that are, well, we will say socially challenged. Have fun and don’t be a meat head.