- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A grand jury in New Jersey indicted a man Tuesday on two felony charges after he was accused of shooting down a hobbyist’s drone with a shotgun as the craft hovered near his house last year. 

Russell Percenti, 33, was indicted on two charges of criminal mischief and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose. The latter count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. 

Mr. Percenti was arrested in September after Leonard Helbig reported that someone “shot his drone out of the air with a shotgun while he was taking pictures of a friend’s property that is under construction,” The Smoking Gun reported.

Mr. Percenti’s home abuts the property under construction, which Mr. Helbig was photographing with the drone. 

Mr. Helbig told The Smoking Gun that the $1,300 drone was flying about 100 feet off the ground when it was fired upon. He estimated about five shots were fired at the drone, which he said was “destroyed” by the shotgun blasts. 

There are few laws currently in place regulating drones, but the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits drones from flying over 200 feet or near airports. So far, there are no laws to address privacy concerns and drones.

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