First it was identity theft.   Now, drone theft?

Some are calling it a "sign of the times,"  the recent break-in at a Woodinville, WA copter store.    CopterShop is one of the few stores in the state that sells actual drone units - not just the radio controlled helicopters or airplanes.

Owner Steve McIrvin said two weeks ago, two men wearing hooded sweatshirts smashed through the front door, and made off with several smaller units.

One of the drones stolen is a rare DJI Inspire 1 drone.   McIrvin says the $3,000 unit has about $10,000 worth of technology on board, including GPS, special sensors, and a rotating 360 degree camera.

It takes two people to operate it.  One flies the drone, the other works the camera.   It has retractable landing gear, and can achieve speeds up to 55 mph.   McIrvin didn't say of the police had any leads, but said the theft underscores the growing knowledge that drones are worth serious money, and have lots of capabilities.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)  classes at universities have grown by as much as 1,000 percent say experts, and over the next decade over 100,000 jobs are expected to be created by the drone industry.

However, privacy advocates say the lack of regulation is leading to safety and privacy issues.   There have been hundreds of police reports filed across the country - including several in Kennewick - about drones being seen hovering around people's yards, and even seemingly "peering" or hovering near windows in homes.

Aircraft and airliner safety is another issue.   Especially in the Northeast,  dozens of private and commercial airliner pilots have reported near misses with drones seen flying near or around active airports - some have come as close as 600 feet to these aircraft.

Currently the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) does not have an official nationwide set of policies governing drone use, like they do for aircraft.

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