Rise of the Drones

North Dakota Cow Thief Is First American Arrested, Jailed With Drone’s Help

A SWAT team also got involved in the armed standoff.
The ominously named Predator drone. (Photo: Getty)

The ominously named Predator drone. (Photo: Getty)

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane — it’s a Predator drone finding you because you wouldn’t give your neighbor his cows back after they wandered onto your property.

Rodney Brossart, the farmer from North Dakota, was arrested after being located by Predator drone, Forbes reports. Sentenced Tuesday, Jan. 14, he is the first American to be sent to the clink thanks to drone assistance, U.S. News & World Report says.

In June 2011, U.S. News reports, police attempted to arrest him because he wouldn’t return the six cows that had grazed onto his property. This resulted in “an armed standoff between Brossart, his three sons and a SWAT team” on his property. It ended only after the family of perps was located by a Predator drone borrowed from Customs and Border Patrol.

Mr. Brossart tried to have the case dismissed on the grounds that there was no warrant for the drone surveillance, but a federal judge rejected his motion.

Forbes points out that it’s disconcerting that drones created to protect American borders are now being used to apprehend American citizens, although a manned helicopter could have done the same thing. The danger, though, is that widespread drone use could be easier to achieve than buying a helicopter for every local precinct in the country.

Let this be a lesson to us all: next time, just give the damn cows back.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article reported that the sentencing occurred on Jan. 21 and three cows were involved. In fact, the sentencing was Jan. 14 and six cows were involved.

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