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Leaflet Drop Drone Pilot Identified By Authorities

Sacramento Resident Tracy Michael Mapes Was Cited For Flying A Drone Over Levi's Stadium

Authorities have identified the man who was arrested Sunday for flying a drone over two NFL games, dropping leaflets over the crowd criticizing television news.

The drone operator is 55-year-old Sacramento resident Tracy Michael Mapes. The Mercury News reports that Mapes was cited for flying a drone over Levi's stadium in violation of a city code and released from custody. His drone was confiscated and place into evidence.

The FAA is also investigating the incident as a violation of the TFR that is put in place over every NFL stadium for every game and flying too close to an airport, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

Mapes was identified using video surveillance. After his drone was sighted over the stadium where the San Francisco 49ers were playing the Seattle Seahawks, authorities began looking for the operator. His vehicle "stood out" according to Santa Clara police Lt. Dan Moreno. Authorities suspected that the drone operator might also drop leaflets at Oakland Coliseum where the Raiders were set to play the Broncos. A vehicle description was sent to nearby law enforcement agencies.

When a drone was seen flying over the Coliseum grounds at Oakland, authorities there began to look for the vehicle. That is when Mapes was arrested by Santa Clara police who had traveled to Oakland and the drone was confiscated.

The contents of the leaflets was not reported, but Mapes did tell television station KABC that it is a long-running effort to address what he says are violations of the U.S. Constitution.

Moreno said it was the most serious drone violation his department has dealt with since the city's ordinance was enacted. He said it was very fortunate that Mapes only dropped paper over the stadium, and that the city is "evaluating our security practices with state and federal authorities to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

(Mapes pictured in Santa Clara Police mug shot)

FMI: Original Story


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