Man jailed for thwarting drone on the beach

An octocopter photographic drone, equipped with a video camera, hovers over a beach.
John Lawson | Getty Images

It was man versus machine on a California beach last weekend when a drone caused quite the kerfuffle. In the end, the drone ended up destroyed, and the man ended up in jail.

Augustine Lehecka told NBC 7 San Diego that he felt "violated" by a low-flying drone that was videotaping Moonlight Beach in Encinitas on Sunday, with small children nearby. When it flew too close, he threw his T-shirt at the unmanned flying tech device, bringing it to the ground, he told the local NBC station.

But the owner of the drone wasn't pleased—telling NBC 7 that Lehecka did $750 worth of damage to the quad copter. San Diego County sheriff's deputies arrested Lehecka, who spent a night in jail for probable cause of felony vandalism.

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After a "thorough review," the District Attorney's office declined to file charges against Lehecka.

"We can only file charges when we believe we can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt," San Diego DA spokesman Steve Walker told CNBC.

While there are federal regulations to prevent drones from interfering with airplane routes, state and local officials, including in Sacramento, have called for tighter regulations to prevent drones from invading privacy or obstructing emergency services.

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For more on the weekend's melee, read the full story with NBC 7 San Diego.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect Lehecka was arrested, but charges were not filed against him.