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Drone crashes through 23rd floor window at Buffalo City Hall

An aerial drone crashed through a window on the 23rd floor of Buffalo City Hall.

No one was in the office when the craft landed in an office late Wednesday afternoon after workers had gone home for the day, police said.

Its operator didn't even know what happened to the drone and later called police asking if anyone had found it.

"I'm actually surprised it broke through a window. If someone had been in the office, it probably would have scared them," Central District Police Chief Joseph Gramaglia said.

In shattering the window, one of the $1,600 drone's four propellers was sheared off and two other propellers damaged. The rechargeable battery dislodged from the belly of the craft inside the office.

City Hall workers discovered the broken plane Thursday morning when they arrived for work, police said.

The drone's owner, a Rochester man, had been taking photographs of the cityscape but lost control of the craft. He later called police on Wednesday to ask if anyone had found his drone.

There was no intent to commit a crime, so no charges were being placed against the man, Gramaglia said. Police did not identify the man.

"This was purely accidental," the chief said. "I spoke with him, and he has it registered as recreational through the FAA and is going through the process of getting it commercially registered so that he can sell pictures he takes with it. The crash occurred pretty high up."

City Hall, a 32-story Art Deco edifice completed in 1931, is nearly 400 feet tall.

Lt. Jeff Rinaldo, the Police Department's chief of staff, said the drone's owner immediately volunteered to pay for the broken window, which is expected to cost about $200.

"He was very apologetic," Rinaldo said.

The drone is being kept in the property room at Buffalo Police Headquarters and the owner has been given permission to reclaim it.

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