Helicopter Pilot Busted for Illegal Grocery Deliveries in East Hampton

Helicopter wine delivery is illegal in East Hampton
Helicopter wine delivery is illegal in East Hampton, Photo: nisanga, olivierl/123RF

The Hamptons Police moved this week to put a stop to what they described as a “dangerous and illegal” airlift operation that had been taking place in the Northwest Woods neighborhood of East Hampton.

According to police, several residents in the area had apparently contracted with a New York City-based helicopter pilot to deliver gourmet groceries, prepared food and alcoholic beverages to their homes. The pilot would make the deliveries by dropping the requested luxury goods from his helicopter onto his customers’ properties while flying at low altitude over the area.

“They had a whole system worked out,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch said while explaining the now-halted delivery services. “Customers would text in their orders—say, some nice breads and cheeses like you can only get in the city, or maybe some decent Thai food, plus some appropriate wine pairings—and then the helicopter guy would pack your order in a highly cushioned container and plop it down in your garden on his way to dropping off some high roller at East Hampton Airport. It was a sweet little sideline for this pilot, no question.”

While it isn’t clear how long the delivery service had been in operation, Hirsch reported that the police had become aware of it only in recent weeks.

“We got a call from a woman in Northwest who was puzzled to find a heavily cushioned package in her backyard—I guess the pilot missed his target. Our emergency bomb squad opened it up, and it was packed with caviar and Dom Perignon, and so we put two and two together.”

The Hamptons Police Department asked for and received a court order barring the helicopter pilot in question from continuing his deliveries.

Read more tales from the Hamptons Police Blotter

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