Advocate says someone with a drone is targeting the homeless

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Splatter from an egg dropped by a drone in July outside the emergency homeless shelter on Manchester Street. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – Since early July, people gathered at night outside the homeless shelter have occasionally watched a drone hovering above and then dropping an egg, or a water balloon, ice pops and even feces.

 So far, no one has been hit, said Dam Wright, 44, a homeless advocate.

The drone has been spotted numerous times, he said.  Initially, he said when he was told about it, he didn’t believe it.  Since early July, however, Wright said he has seen the drone four times near the shelter; once it dropped an egg and another time, a water balloon.

Each time the drone appears, he said it comes from the east/northeast.  He estimates that it is flying at 100 to 200 feet in the sky when it drops something. He said there is no pattern but it has been happening, on average, once or twice a week.

Wednesday morning was different, however, because a Manchester police patrol officer spotted the drone, according to Wright.

A little before 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 16, Wright stopped outside the Winona Club.  There were about 15 people in the area and “everybody starts looking at the sky,” he said.

 “The drone’s back,” someone said.

“I’m just gonna step under the awning at the Winona,” Wright said, heading for cover.

This time the drone had a light – which apparently caught the officer’s attention – and, sure enough, it dropped something on the ground about 20 feet away from anyone.  Wright said it appeared to be a water balloon, judging from the splash on the ground.  

The officer, who Wright said drove the wrong way on Pine Street following the drone, arrived about the same time.

“What just happened?” the officer asked.  Several people rushed to tell the officer what they saw, Wright said, including that it has become a regular occurrence in this area. 

The officer, he said, told them he came over to the shelter because the light caught his attention.  The light that was affixed to the drone was recovered by the spectators and turned over to the officer.  

“Somebody has some kind of fancy drone to be able to drop something,” Wright said.   “This is not some $50 toy you buy out of a catalog. That’s a serious piece of machinery.”

Wright said the drone is just another example of the homeless being harassed.

“This is the world we live in,” said Wright, who has a residence but was homeless for nearly 10 years.  “Housed people pretend to be the victims just for having to see homeless people exist, or harmlessly witnessing victimless drug offenses or basic infighting amongst homeless people. While we watch housed people constantly victimize the homeless just for being homeless. With slurs, punches, kicks, eggs, paintballs, pellets, BBs, rocks, firecrackers…and now drones. All while we wonder how long before they resort to actual bullets, or real bombs.”

He said the idea that someone is taking the time to target the homeless with a drone “speaks volumes about whether the housed people are really the ‘victims’ of the homeless, or vice versa.”

Manchester Ink Link reached out to Manchester Police for confirmation of the incident but as of the time of publication, did not get a response. However, a check of the daily police log activity at 1:36 a.m. shows a call to 199 Manchester St. (the FIT shelter) for a “broadcast message.”


 

About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.