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Woman Says Surveillance Cam Caught Drone Spying. Others Aren’t So Sure

A woman in St. Louis, Missouri, is making local headlines with claims that her home surveillance camera caught a camera drone hovering outside her home at night and spying on her. Other people aren’t so sure that’s what her camera captured.

The local CBS-affiliate KMOV shared the woman’s story in a segment and article titled, “‘It’s disgusting’; surveillance shows drone flying outside woman’s window at night.” You can watch the 2.5-minute segment here.

The woman recently purchased and set up a Wyse Cam smart home camera on her back porch. The following night, she looked at the camera’s feed and saw what she says was a “drone being used to peep through her bedroom window.”

“The drone flies quite close to my camera,” the woman tells KMOV. “I’m really glad I know this was happening, instead of being inside and not knowing somebody was looking in.”

The captured surveillance video shows what appears to be four glowing points of light hovering up and down within the frame.


A still frame from the woman’s surveillance footage showing the points of light.

The woman also jumps to the conclusion that a man was piloting the drone to spy on her.

“It’s not going unnoticed and we want him to stop,” she tells KMOV.

After seeing the “drone,” the woman began warning her neighbors about the high-tech Peeping Tom, going door-to-door with a letter warning her neighbors. Local authorities are reportedly investigating whether laws were broken, and the woman says she’s going to file a formal complaint with the FAA.

But does the woman’s footage even show a drone in the first place? It seems many people online doubt it.


“Are you sure? No flashing lights, and I was unaware that a UAV can hover sideways,” one person wrote over in the drone pilot forum MavicPilots.com. “I see something but I do not see a drone.”

“I use IR trail cams for work and also home security and there are often similar artifacts,” another member writes. “[Y]ou can see between the two inner ‘lights’”

After some further discussion, a member who goes by lisadoc provides a plausible explanation: spider webs.

“I’ll tell you precisely what it is,” lisadoc writes. “It is an IR image of a spider web (a single thread) that is blowing in the wind across the frame of the camera lens. I’ve seen it hundreds of times before and recognized it immediately.

“It is why it moves at that angle, ‘hovers’ across the camera frame several times, and only appeared at 4 AM. The ‘lights’ are simply drops of condensation (or globules produced by thickening of the spider thread) viewed by the lens at a relatively close distance.”

Here’s a video showing what spider webs look like through an IR camera: the glowing orbs floating across the frame look strikingly similar to what the woman captured:

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