CRIME

Draper couple warns neighbors after concerning encounter with drone

Apr 2, 2024, 10:11 PM | Updated: 10:39 pm

DRAPER — A couple was warning their neighbors Tuesday after an encounter with a drone that left them concerned the operator had “nefarious” intentions.

According to Drew and Lorene Joosten, the drone appeared about 25 feet outside their rear windows around 9:00 p.m. Monday and just hovered for roughly two points with the camera apparently pointing into their home.

“Green lights are in the front,” he said. “Green lights were pointing at our window.”

Joosten said he grew even more disturbed when the drone did the same in front of back windows of at least two neighboring houses before the drone went out of his field of view.

“They weren’t just goofing around,” Lorene said to KSL TV. The couple reported the matter to Draper police. Lt. Mike Elkins said while officers went out to the couple’s neighborhood to investigate, they did not locate the drone operator.

“It’s definitely a little creepy,” Elkins said.

Elkins said something similar happened recently at a hotel in Draper where the drone appeared to move from window to window. While police were not making a connection between the two incidents, police were also concerned about the behavior.

“That’s a huge invasion of people’s privacy, and it’s actually against the law,” Elkins said. “It falls under the Utah state trespassing code.”

Elkins said anyone who has a concerning drone encounter should report it to police. He said the challenge is actually finding the operator, who can be far from the location of the drone.

“The technology has advanced so much with those that nearly anybody can pick up a control and operate,” Elkins said. “Just a couple years ago some of the common equipment that was available to the public could fly 30 minutes on a battery and could fly up to 5 miles, so these people operating this equipment near these people’s homes could really be anywhere.”

Elkins urged drone operators to be familiar with rules and laws, to work and cooperate with their neighbors, and to generally not be creepy.

The Joostens said they didn’t know what the reason would be for peering into their home with a drone, but no reason seemed to be good.

“He could be a ‘peeping tom,’ a voyeur just looking to see if they can see anybody in one of the windows,” Drew said. “The other thought is, you know, it could be somebody who is checking out houses as potential burglary sites.”

They cautioned their neighbors in posts on social media about what they witnessed.

“It’s really not OK to be looking into people’s windows,” Lorene Joosten said.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Draper couple warns neighbors after concerning encounter with drone