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New Jersey Man Facing Criminal Charges for Dropping Neon-Green Sea Dye into Pools with Drone

A man from New Jersey has been arrested and charged with using a drone to drop neon-green dye into pools, according to the local Absecon Police Department.

The authorities became aware of the incident when a homeowner reported seeing a drone hover over their pool and release dye into the water, turning it neon-green.

Further investigation revealed that the dye used was sea dye, which is commonly used in maritime rescues to make water more visible.

Following the initial report, more incidents were reported, including one at the Quality Inn in Galloway Township, New Jersey, where the drone allegedly targeted the pool multiple times over the summer.

The owner of the Quality Inn described the first incident in late June, stating, “I saw it totally green and I was like, ‘Oh wow what is going on?’ So we saw a dye pack in the bottom of the pool and we didn’t know what it was.”

With the assistance of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), New Jersey State Police, and the Galloway Township Police Department, the Absecon Police Department was able to identify the drone flying over the Quality Inn during another visit on September 1.

This led them to Comfort Solutions Heating and Cooling, also located in Galloway Township. The owner of the business, Patrick Spina IV, aged 45, has been accused of carrying out the drone fly-bys. While the exact number of charges has not been specified, he is facing multiple counts of criminal mischief.

The costs incurred by the Quality Inn and other victims are estimated to be in the thousands. The closure of the pool for draining and refilling, as well as canceled visits, have cost Ms. Woolstion, the operator of the Quality Inn, $20,000 alone. Additionally, overtime costs for employees to monitor the pool and the potential expense of pool refinishing at $10,000 are also a concern.

If found guilty, Mr. Spina may face the revocation of his drone operation license and fines imposed by the FAA.

In response to the incident, the FAA stated, “FAA regulations prohibit the unsafe or unauthorized operation of any aircraft. We encourage the public to report unauthorized drone operations to local law enforcement to help discourage this dangerous illegal activity.” The fines for such violations could reach up to $30,000.

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