PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (NEWS CENTER) — Police in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, are investigating a case involving drones that may have been spying on people inside their homes.
They are not sure what the drone operator’s intent was, but it appears that the person behind them may be a high-tech Peeping Tom.
It happened near downtown Portsmouth. A land landlord called police to inform them about unusual activity involving a drone.
“Two tenants, in two separate apartments, both reported to [the responding officer] that while they were in their homes they had looked up at their skylights in the ceiling and noticed there were drones hovering directly over their skylights,” said Sgt. Kuffer Kaltenborn.
Investigators say many drones these days have cameras attached to them that can snap photos, record video or even stream live images. Were these drones being used to spy on unsuspecting people in the privacy of their own homes? Police aren’t sure, but they say it certainly is a possibility.
“This was the first call we took where there was at least that unknown element of whether or not it was being used in some sort of nefarious, some kind of bad, ill will intent,” Sgt. Kaltenborn said.
People in the neighborhood say it sounds creepy.
“I would be very mad if I saw someone flying a drone above me," said Justina Ceruvals. "I don’t know, I would freak out."
Jessica Monroe added, “It’s kind of scary, and I hope something’s done about it to prevent things like this from happening in the future.”
Police say it's difficult to say if any privacy laws were broken, but the location of the drones did appear to violate FAA flight rules that prohibit drones from flying too low to the ground or too high in the sky.
“In this case, where the drone is hovering directly over someone’s skylight, that’s certainly not within the 250-feet above the level of the ground,” said Kaltenborn.
While this is the first case of its kind Portsmouth PD has investigated, they say it’s not likely to be the last.