Man Indicted For Shotgun Blasts At Hovering Drone

New Jerseyan is facing a pair of felony counts

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New Jersey Drone

AUGUST 25--A grand jury today indicted a New Jersey man on two felony charges for allegedly firing a shotgun at a hobbyist’s drone as it hovered near his residence last year.

Russell Percenti, 33, is facing criminal mischief and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose charges. The latter count carries a maximum of ten years in prison, while Percenti could face up to 18 months on the lesser felony rap.

Percenti, pictured at right, was arrested last September after Leonard Helbig reported that someone “shot his drone out of the air with a shotgun while he was taking pictures of a friend’s property that is under construction.”

A subsequent police investigation determined that Percenti, a restaurant employee, shot at the drone while it flew near his family’s residence in Cape May County at New Jersey’s southern tip.

As seen in the above photo (click to enlarge) shot by Helbig’s drone, his friend’s property abuts the Percenti residence, which has an above-ground pool and a rear deck. It is unclear whether Percenti is the individual seen standing on the deck in the below drone photo (click to enlarge).

Helbig told TSG that the $1300 drone was about 100 feet above the ground when it was fired upon. Helbig, who operates Cape May Miniature Golf, estimated that five shots were fired at the drone, which he said was “destroyed” by the shotgun blasts. (2 pages)