A St. James man is in the Suffolk police doghouse after cops said he shot down a drone dispatched to find a missing mutt.
Gerard Chasteen, 26, of Rutherford Street, was charged with third-degree criminal mischief and prohibited use of a weapon after he fired a shotgun at the drone Saturday afternoon as it hovered over his neighborhood, police said.
The drone was searching for Dezie, a black-and-white, mixed-breed pooch, and belonged to Missing Angels-Long Island, an organization that searches for lost pets, said Lynn Fozale, a member of the group who took part in the search.
Fozale said she and another member of the organization, Teddy Henn, were tracking the drone's movements when it became unresponsive. The drone’s GPS indicated it was last above Rutherford Street. Fozale said she and Henn feared the high-flying gadget might have struck a bird and crashed. They eventually called Suffolk police.
Fourth Squad detectives arrived and found that Chasteen had fired the shotgun three times into the air from his yard, striking the drone, police said. Multiple shotguns were confiscated from the residence, they said.
Detectives issued Chasteen a field appearance ticket, and he will be arraigned at a later date, police said. Chasteen declined to comment Sunday.
Dezie, meanwhile, remains on the run. Fozale said the puppy bolted from the home of a family that had adopted her recently and jumped a fence, perhaps to look for her former owners. Fozale said she and Henn spotted Dezie in the area Sunday morning, but they were unable to capture the dog.
Fozale said Missing Angels purchased the drone and related equipment two months ago for about $2,000 with donations and their own money.
“We don’t care what his problems are or what his issue is," she said, "we just want our drone replaced.”