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Colorado drones: Sheriff calls van 'pure speculation,' urges public not to shoot down aircraft

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office posted a bulletin for its citizens with updates about the investigation into mysterious Colorado drones.

FORT MORGAN, Colo. — One day after dozens of representatives from multiple law enforcement, state and military agencies gathered to discuss the mysterious drone sightings that have been reported in northeastern Colorado for more than two weeks, the Morgan County sheriff posted a bulletin for its citizens.

“I am urging the public to NOT shoot at the drones,” Sheriff Dave Martin wrote in a bulletin posted to Facebook. “Doing so could lead to criminal charges, but more importantly, could have unintended consequences; if you miss your target, the bullet has to come down somewhere.”

In the comments section of the same bulletin, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office calls another agency’s assertion the drones could be tied to a closed box trailer or large van “pure speculation.”

“The vehicle and trailer descriptions are based on full speculation,” the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office wrote. “It may be accurate, but there is no information, at this time, that supports it.”

Credit: Courtesy Facebook
A screenshot of the Facebook post made by the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.

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This is in response to a Facebook post by the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office, which asked for the public to watch vehicles that potentially match this description.

Both of these agencies were part of Monday’s meeting, which also included the Federal Aviation Administration and Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Martin, who is leading the multi-agency effort to solve the drone mystery, told 9NEWS it wouldn’t be accurate to refer to it as a “task force.” These were the words he used to describe the same gathering on Monday.

“There was a lot of discussion at this meeting which ultimately resulted in the establishment of a group of agencies that are willing to commit personnel to continue to investigate the drone sightings and come up with a definitive answer,” Martin wrote. “The FAA committed to participate in this group as well.”

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Another agency offering assistance in the investigation is the Colorado Division of Fire Protection and Control. A spokesperson for the agency declined to say whether it was offering aircraft support.

"While we're actively investigating, we typically do not discuss the investigative techniques or technology we're using,” a statement from agency spokesperson Caley Fisher read. “We are using the expertise and resources of our divisions to assist our local and federal partners in this investigation. We are actively monitoring reports of suspicious activity and will take action based on the level of activity and information being gathered by the CIAC."

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The drones were first reported in a Facebook post by the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 20. Sightings have since occurred in numerous northeastern Colorado counties and have stretched into southwest Nebraska – garnering national media attention.

Martin said at this point, there’s no evidence the drones are necessarily breaking the law … at least in Colorado.

“Our office has not found a criminal violation of state law for the drones either,” Martin wrote. “The sheriff’s office is not able to enforce federal laws or regulations. We will continue to respond and log the reported sighting[s] of the drones and attempt to locate an operator.”

So far, no one has come forward to claim the drones. The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said the Air Force denied any involvement, and 9NEWS contacted more than two dozen public agencies and private companies to ask if they had any knowledge of the mystery aircraft.

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None of those companies — including Google, Uber and Amazon — took credit either.

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