Man Arrested for Using Drone to Drop Political Propaganda at NFL Games

Police were able to find the drone pilot by viewing surveillance camera footage at Levi’s Stadium, which captured the suspect’s license plate.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A Californian man was cited over the weekend for using a drone to drop political Pamphlets over NFL stadiums during two football games.

Police cited Tracy Michael Mapes, 55, with misdemeanor charges after his drone was spotted over Levi’s Stadium as the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks played.

The aerial device reportedly released fliers criticizing television news media during the second quarter of the game. However, most of the papers blew out of the stadium due to wind and rain.

Police were able to find Mapes by viewing surveillance camera footage at Levi’s Stadium, which captured the suspect’s license plate.

Santa Clara detectives called law enforcement in Oakland in anticipation that Mapes would go there next for the Raiders-Broncos game.

Their hunch turned out to be correct and Mapes was arrested shortly after dropping leaflets over the football game.

Mapes told San Francisco’s ABC affiliate KGO-TV that he dropped the leaflets in an attempt to disseminate his political beliefs.

Santa Clara police Lt. Dan Moreno told the Associated Press that Federal and local laws prohibit flying drones near football games, and authorities are examining additional ways to prevent the unmanned aircraft from hovering over crowds of tens of thousands of people after Sunday’s incidents.

Drones pose a threat to spectators due to the spinning blades. There is also the threat of terrorists arming drones with dangerous weapons.

This incident highlights the need for both drone regulations and anti-drone technology. The NFPA is currently putting together a new standard, NFPA 2400, for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations while companies like Dedrone are creating drone tracking and anti drone solutions.

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