A number of mysterious drones have been spotted flying patterns over Phillips and Yuma counties in Colorado and the local law enforcement is stumped.
According to the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office, more than 16 drones have been tracked since late last week, flying at approximately 200 feet above the ground. When online commenters asked if they could shoot the drones down, the Sheriff’s Office advised against this, stating that doing so would likely be considered a federal crime as drones are considered aircraft under federal law.
Title 18 of United States Code 32 covers unmanned aircraft, meaning sabotage of a drone could carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The Communications Act of 1934 also outlaws any sort of signal jamming that may cripple the drone.
A report from the Denver Post states that the drones have an estimated 6-foot wingspan, flying “nighttime search patterns” from 7 PM to 10 PM on a regular basis.
Though odd, the Sheriff’s Office does not believe that the drones are conducting any sort of behavior that would be malicious in nature.
The Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Air Force have both informed the Sheriff’s Office that the drones aren’t theirs.
In posts about the incident on social media, local residents seemed concerned about the drones in regard to an invasion of privacy.
The Phillips County Sheriff’s Office has requested that local residents contact their communications center immediately if a drone is spotted on an individual’s property or appears to be looking into a window. This will allow a deputy to respond to their location.
The Sheriff’s Office has also requested that if anyone obtains one of these drones that they call the Sheriff’s Office so that they may conduct a forensic analysis and potentially identify the owner.
Phillips and Yuma counties are located in the northeast corner of Colorado, including Holyoke and Wray, respectively.
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