His $6K drone got in the way of a LAPD helicopter; pleads no contest to obstructing police officer



A 57-year-old man whose $6,000 drone was confiscated after being flown into the path of a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter involved in a suspect search in Hollywood pleaded no contest Wednesday to obstructing a police officer.

Martin Sheldon was immediately sentenced to 30 days of community labor, three years probation and forfeiture of the drone system, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

Sheldon was also barred from owning or operating any unmanned aerial system, including a remote-controlled airplane, helicopter or drone during his probationary period.

Sheldon operated a drone toward an LAPD helicopter Aug. 27 while the crew was assisting in a search for an assault suspect, forcing the pilot to take evasive action and break off the search, according to city prosecutors.

LAPD officers tracked the drone back to Sheldon, who was operating it from a parking lot at a mini-mall at Sunset and Western avenues, and confiscated it.

Video footage from the drone showed the device approaching the helicopter and its spotlight, along with numerous police units on the ground, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

“Interfering with a police investigation through the careless operation of a drone places our officers and the public at serious risk,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “This conviction sends a strong message that we will hold those who recklessly operate these devices accountable for their actions.”

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