Georgia man accused of shooting, damaging workers' $15K drone
Credit: AJC File
A Newnan man was arrested and charged with reckless conduct and criminal damage to property in the second degree after two employees for Georgia Transmission said he shot their $15,000 drone while they were using the device to photograph their work on towers and power lines in the area.
A Newnan man was arrested after police said he fired shots and damaged a crew’s $15,000 drone while they were using it to photograph their work Friday.
Coweta County sheriff’s deputies said they were dispatched about 12:10 p.m. to the 60 block of Fuller Gordon Road, where two employees for Georgia Transmission said they were working on towers and power lines when 35-year-old Edward Neil Pope shot at the drone they were using.
According to a police report, the employees told Pope beforehand they would be working in the area, which he said he understood.
While flying the drone, one of the workers said he heard three shots. When the drone landed, they saw two gunshots had destroyed the device’s $600 battery. The landing gear was also shot at least once, the police report indicated. They told deputies they were unsure whether only the landing gear would need to be replaced or the entire drone, which they said is worth $15,000.
When one of the employees returned to his vehicle, he heard another gunshot and pellets hitting a nearby tree and the top of his truck, authorities said. The workers confronted Pope, who denied shooting the drone, the police report stated. The employees then called police when they saw a long shotgun in one of the cars in Pope’s yard, authorities said.
Deputies said when they failed to contact Pope, they spoke to his neighbors who told them they’ve had issues with the man harassing family members and also placing spike strips in the street.
Around 5 p.m., deputies said they made contact with Pope, who denied shooting the drone although authorities said there were two eyewitnesses, the police report said.
Pope was eventually arrested after a brief struggle and sent to the Coweta County jail, authorities said. He was charged with reckless conduct and criminal damage to property in the second degree.
Tanni Deb, a Michigan native, is a content producer for the AJC, primarily covering breaking news, crime and public safety. After graduating from Northwestern University, she worked as a TV reporter before producing long-form feature videos on business trends across Africa.