SEATTLE - It was 7:45 Sunday morning and Lisa Pleiss was fresh out of bed when she spotted a drone flying outside her window, potentially spying on her.
Even though her condo has floor-to-ceiling windows, she never worried about anyone seeing her partially dressed. After all, she lives 26 floors up. But Sunday morning she saw something strange hovering outside. "It was actually quite large. It appeared that there were video cameras on it," she said.
"So that's what kind of caused me alarm because I wasn't particularly dressed for a camera, by any means. I wasn't appropriate, and so that was nerve-wracking immediately," Pleiss explained, adding, "I kind of, like, hid for a second and got myself taken care of and then I went back out and looked and went to grab my camera and it swooped away really fast." But Pleiss was able to snap a picture of the drone and immediately called down to the front desk. They called police.
"It was really scary and just felt really violating. Here I can normally go around my house anyway I want and by no means did I feel that way," Pleiss said. The aerial drones equipped with cameras have now gone mainstream.
Anyone can buy one online for as little as a few hundred bucks. They are legal to operate, just like any other model aircraft, but they are certainly not without controversy.
"You're already getting a great amount of these out there and safety is going to become an issue along with legalities of people looking at their neighbors, spying on things," former FBI agent Jonathan Gilliam said.
Pleiss doesn't think she was targeted, but maybe she was in the right place at the wrong time. "Now I understand how violating it can feel when you're standing in your apartment and you don't know who's there looking at you, or potentially taking pictures of you," Pleiss said.
The men were flying the drone from a parking lot at Stewart and Terry and were apparently also videotaping it. Witnesses say the men were driving a white Mazda with no front license plate but, so far, police don't know who they are or why they were flying the drone.Drones aren't just spying: a hotel in California offers drones that bring you champagne.