Hamptons Drone Hawks Graduate to Jewel Thievery

Robo Drone Hawk with Necklace
Photo: Vitalii Tiahunov, Dennis Jacobsen /123RF

In recent months, the Hamptons Police have received sporadic calls from people reporting that sandwiches or other foodstuffs have been whisked from their hands as they’ve been walking on the beach or in open fields. The callers have often been under the impression that they have been attacked by hawks looking for a free lunch, but the police have had good reason to suspect otherwise.

“Hawks don’t go for sandwiches,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch says. “They like to capture their food alive.”

Given this biological fact, the police have been operating under the assumption that the food was actually being stolen by drone aircraft disguised as hawks. The police investigation was proceeding slowly and methodically.

“We felt we had a pretty good understanding of what was actually happening,” Hirsch says. “What we couldn’t figure out was why. Who would want to come up with a highly sophisticated, expensive and skill-intensive way of taking half-eaten sandwiches and snacks away from hikers? It didn’t make sense.”

Events that took place this past weekend might provide investigators with an answer to this unresolved question. Warmer temperatures and the start of the summer resort season meant that greater numbers of people were out on the streets, and these were wealthier people than are typical in the off-season. Many women were wearing expensive necklaces and bracelets.

“Around noon on Saturday the calls started coming in,” Hirsch says. “‘A hawk stole my pearls!’ ‘A hawk made off with my priceless Rolex!’ It was a bloodbath out there!”

Though by the time the police arrived on the scene there wasn’t a hawk in sight, the officers quickly put two and two together and realized that there was more than likely a connection between the sandwich thefts of the last few months and the jewel thefts on Saturday.

“The modus operandi is awfully similar,” Hirsch says.

Police now believe that the food thefts, which took place in relatively unpopulated areas, were a form of “target practice” for the drone operators in preparation for the jewel thefts, which took place amidst crowds of people.

“We think the sandwiches were swiped just so they could get the hang of it,” Hirsch adds. “They were working out the kinks in relatively safe spaces. Now, apparently, they feel bold enough to strike targets of real value even on densely packed sidewalks.”

The new seriousness of the attacks has taken police by surprise, Hirsch admits. “Look, when they were just taking some guy’s ham and Swiss, we were frankly not that concerned. So we’ve got some catching up to do.”

Until they catch the perpetrators, police are advising people to stick to wearing costume jewelry in public spaces.

Read more tales from the Hamptons Police Blotter

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