MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Rutherford County father is concerned after he discovered a drone flying above his pool in his backyard.
According to an incident report, the drone was spotted Thursday evening while Jim Marlatt’s 13-year-old son was swimming.
Marlatt called police and told them “the drone had an obvious camera attached.”
“I was just jumping in the pool and then I turned around and I saw a drone above our house,” said Marlatt’s 13-year-old son Austin.
“It just made me feel really uncomfortable of him flying it over our house and maybe taking pictures or videos of me,” he continued.
Police traced the drone to a neighbor who said “the drone was never intentionally flown into someone’s property, if ever,” according to the report.
The officer briefed the neighbor on criminal trespassing laws and how unmanned aircraft apply to that statute.
No charges are being filed at this time, per Marlatt’s request.
He said he is giving his neighbor the benefit of the doubt this time, but if it happens again, he will press charges.
“I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope it doesn’t happen again but I’d just like to warn other people watch out,” said Jim Marlatt.
News 2 contacted local attorney Grover Collins with Collins Law Firm for more insight on drone flying.
He said what this neighbor did is illegal according to an amended state statute, which took effect last July.
“Previously, the criminal trespass statute only included your entire body,” said Collins. “What the statute has amended says that when a person causes an unmanned aircraft to go onto someone’s property or airspace that’s not regulated by the FAA then that constitutes a violation of the Criminal Trespass Statute.”
The class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail.