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No-Fly Zone: A City Drone Is Grounded, Then Stolen 

Wednesday, Jan 21 2015

We can't have nice things in this city. We buy a quadcopter-type drone worth $3,000 and equipped with a GoPro camera and, wouldn't you know it, someone up and steals it.

Lucky for San Francisco, however, it still has eight left. Why buy one when you can buy nine for six times the price?

Recreation and Park Department officials confirmed to SF Weekly that, earlier this month, some unknown miscreant made off with the drone while it was being kept in a city vehicle at the department's McLaren Lodge headquarters on Stanyan Street.

It may come as a surprise that the city even had drones to steal. This batch of nine was obtained last fall for $19,000 in the hope of, eventually, using them as eyes in the sky to monitor the conditions of trees, parks, and other facilities. And yet, only one has been flown, just once: "Department Management has directed that the equipment not be further piloted until the City has developed policies and guidelines for their use," writes a Rec and Park spokeswoman.

Retrieving the purloined drone will be left to the San Francisco Police Department — which is, likely, envious of Rec and Park.

It doesn't have even a single drone to lose.

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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