Brooklyn office workers were startled to find a camera-equipped drone hovering in the sky next to some offices and apartments Thursday.
Workers at EBrooklyn Media were among the first to spot the drone from their 30th-floor office windows at 16 Court St. in Brooklyn Heights, the Brooklyn Eagle first reported, which is owned by EBrooklyn Media.
"It was hovering, just hovering and pointing its camera into our offices," said reporter Mary Frost. It was also "zooming past some open windows of people's residences, which was very freaky."
"It seemed like it was collecting a lot of data," she said.
The drone went on to fly over Montague Street and returned to the operator after several minutes, the Brooklyn Eagle reported. The apparent drone operator was seen standing on the roof of 189 Montague St., an office building.
The building's management office contacted police after getting several complaints. Solomon Henderson, a security guard next to the building where the drone operator was spotted, said he saw officers confiscating the drone.
The officers "were asking me a lot of questions about access to next door," he said.
The man was issued a summons for flying the drone over the city despite his claim that he was doing research for an architectural firm. The exact summons was for "avigation of a drone over the city."
The increasing popularity of drones for both personal and commercial purposes has lawmakers struggling to regulate the quickly evolving technology, especially as they spark privacy concerns and airline and pedestrian safety concerns.
Federal law prohibits drones from flying higher than 400 feet and requires drone operators to get permission before flying their devices within five miles of an airport, but recent near-misses in New York and elsewhere across the country indicate at least the latter part of the law is being ignored.
Meanwhile in New York City, the City Council proposed a bill last December to restrict drones to limited public spaces like parks, while banning them from heavily popular areas such as sports arenas or airports. Council members have said the city has to take on the issue because the FAA has not.