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2 Men Arrested After Allegedly Flying Drone Near George Washington Bridge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Two men have been charged with piloting a small drone high above the Hudson River.

As CBS 2's Lou Young reported, an NYPD helicopter pilot flying near the George Washington Bridge Monday spotted the radio-controlled aircraft. Police said the drone was flying at an elevation of 2,000 feet and toward the chopper, and could have hit it.

A bad idea, most agree.

"Given the Homeland Security situation, you have to be nuts to fly anything near the George Washington Bridge," said Karen Brinn, of Yonkers.

"They didn't think ahead and they took a risk, and they got what they deserved," she added.

The chopper's pilot said he watched the drone return to a van parked below and then directed a patrol car toward it. The patrolman said he found two drones there. The suspects -- Ryan Castro, 23, and Wilkins Mendoza, 34 -- were arrested and charged with reckless endangerment.

The new generation of radio-controlled aircraft drives enthusiasts to go higher and further than ever before. It's no longer necessary to even see the craft being piloted because, using cameras, the operator can see what it sees.

"I can see the ... attraction comes in, but at what cost?" said Joe Collier, who is starting up a drone company, CT Drones, to do building inspections, site surveys and aerial mapping. He expects regulation -- or at the very least, registration of unmanned aircraft.

"Hard-code the chip at the point of sale, where it's being sold," Collier said.

Such a measure can help authorities find the responsible party when something goes wrong.

Friends of the suspects said the men bought the drones a couple of weeks ago and took them out to the river when they got tired of flying them around the neighborhood.

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