Sex offender allegedly used drone to spy on neighbor

Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 8:57 AM EDT
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CRANSTON, R.I. (WJAR) - A Rhode Island woman is speaking out after a drone was allegedly caught peering inside her home last week.

Stephanie Merola said she was getting ready to take a shower on Wednesday when she briefly went to check something in her home office. While in there, she heard a sound she thought was coming from her pool.

Merola followed the sound and realized that it was not the pool but a drone.

“And I saw it hovering over my bathroom window,” she said.

Merola said the gadget took off when she started yelling at it, and it eventually crashed into the hedges.

It fell to the ground and she dunked it in water, disabling it.

“I don’t know what would have happened. Like, what could still be going on if I didn’t catch it?” she said.

A Cranston Police Department investigation and independent work by Merola herself linked the drone back to Christopher Jones, Merola’s neighbor and a convicted sex offender.

Jones admitted to police that he was flying the drone and was charged with a felony count of video voyeurism.

According to a police report, officers recovered a SIM card used to record video and photos.

Merola says she was unsettled to learn about Jones’s past and expressed concern for her neighborhood and her daughter.

“That’s all that kept going through my head is just him possibly peeking at my daughter playing, getting dressed, her in the bath. That’s all that’s just been going through my mind. I just feel like, you know, once you’re a sex offender, you should always have to register as a sex offender. That’s not something that goes away,” she said.