On Thursday, local police began receiving mysterious reports from callers who claimed they had been attacked and robbed by hawks.
“All of a sudden, we had something like 25 calls,” Hamptons Police Department spokesman Larry Hirsch says. “They were all pretty similar. Somebody would be walking on the beach or in a field, eating a sandwich or a snack minding their own business, when all of a sudden a large hawk would swoop down and, using its claws, rip their food from their hands and fly off with it.”
Police quickly realized it was highly unlikely the callers had been targeted by actual hawks.
“Our team of animal behavior experts was apprised of the reports,” Hirsch says. “They informed us that hawks are birds of prey, and only feed on animals they kill in the hunt. Hawks wouldn’t be interested in the sandwich you’re holding in your hand unless that sandwich happened to have a live snake in it.”
None of the callers reported the food they were eating was alive while they were eating it. So, having ruled out the possibility they were dealing with an actual bird, police are investigating under the assumption that they’re dealing with a drone aircraft disguised as a hawk—and the drone’s operator is either very interested in stealing and consuming strangers’ half-eaten food or is a wildlife conservationist trying to prevent humans from bringing outside food into the natural environment.
“Until we catch him or her, we don’t know” Hirsch says. “Either way, you’d think there would be easier ways to achieve the same result. The drone pilot is clearly highly skilled at operating this aircraft, and that must have taken a lot of practice.”
The investigation is ongoing.