29/06/2015 11:19 BST | Updated 29/06/2015 11:59 BST

Man Shoots Down Hexacopter Drone After Mistaking It For CIA Surveillance

Remember that time you accidentally mistook a neighbour's drone for CIA surveillance equipment and then shot it down? No?

Well, California resident Brett McBay remembers because he has just been ordered to pay $850 in damages for a hexacopter he reportedly shot down with a 12-gauge shotgun.

brett mcbay

Ars Technica reported that a small claims court has finally ruled in drone owner Eric Joe's favour after he filed a case earlier this year.

The incident happened in November 2014, when Joe decided to fly his drone at his parents' house in Modesto, California.

His neighbour McBay, a businessman who has been involved in local politics, allegedly thought the drone belonged to the CIA and took it down with one shot.


Speaking to Ars Technica, Joe described the surprising exchange that took place when he went to confront his parents' neighbour.

"When I went out to go find it, I saw him come out shotgun-in-hand..."

Joe asked: "Did you shoot that thing?"

McBay replied: "Yeah, did we get it?"

Keen to ensure that McBay paid for the damage he had caused, Joe emailed him later that evening telling him to cough up $700.

McBay responded with: "With all do [sic] respect $700 dollars seems excessive. Perhaps in SF it's normal for folks to have drones hovering over their property but we live in the country for privacy."

Joe emailed back: "I'm hoping to resolve this in a civil manner. An entirely new rig would have cost $1500. Instead, I'm just asking that you pay for what you broke. Let me know if you wish to discuss further."

However, the businessman refused to pay.

According to Joe's lawyer, McBay would have been within his legal rights to use the shotgun if he was defending his property.

She explained that since the drone was only "briefly over the shared county access road...shooting a shotgun at this thing that isn't threatening your property isn't reasonable."