Police seize drone for flying in California Exposition airspace

A Sacramento drone enthusiast lost more than he bargained for when he decided to take a flight over the Winter Wonderland at Cal Expo. (Nov. 30, 2016)

Police confiscated a Sacramento man’s drone and equipment after he flew it over the California Exposition in Mid-November.

The California Exposition is currently hosting a holiday light festival called a Winter Wonderland. Mark Munm visited the fair with his family and went back to record the spectacular lights.

“I decided because I'm a drone enthusiast to come back the following night and get some aerial footage of the lights,” Munm said.

On November 21, Go Pro footage recorded by Munm, a small aircraft hobbyist, California Exposition Police officers seized Munm’s recently purchased $1,500 DJI Mavick drone.

Munm says he has flown drones for several years and has several hundred hours of flight experience if not thousands. He said he was following all FAA laws and didn't know what he was doing wrong.

“I’ve worked a long time to save up for it. I had to sell some stuff to be able to get it and I was really ecstatic to get it before a lot of other people.”

In the three minute video, police cite that he broke federal laws in operating his drone in California Exposition airspace and for flying over crowds.

"You can’t fly your drone over exposition at all, it's a federal violation,” an unidentified California Exposition Officer said in the video.

"Your drone is now our drone," another officer said.

After repeated attempts to contact the California Exposition Police Department to obtain a police report, Munm said he received a call from a Sgt. Manning.

In a voicemail, Manning said that a report has been submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding his possible violation.

Munm was told he could not obtain a police report because the incident was under investigation, Manning said in the voicemail.

ABC 10 News contact the police department for clarification on the matter. Sabrina Rodriguez is a spokesperson with the California Exposition.

In June of 2016, the California Exposition board adopted a drone police that prohibits those devices to be operated on the property without prior written approval, Rodriguez said. Police seized Munm’s drone because he was operating it in California Exposition airspace.

The incident is under investigation by police, however, no charges have been filed.

The FAA is also aware of the incident and are also looking into it, FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor said.

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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