LED-lighted kite reported as UFO causes panic and gets St. Paul man arrestedby Cherlyn Gardner Strong on Sep. 16, 2010, under Life, UFOs
After receiving reports over the summer about lights in the sky, St. Paul police found the cause, as reported by the Pioneer Press. Ernest Sawka Jr., 34, was flying a kite with small lights on a short string. The man had a warrant, so he went to the slammer on unrelated charges that night, on August 20th.
Sawka served his time and was released back out on the street Sunday. The next evening, the police again began to receive UFO reports. The officers followed the lights and found Sawka at a local playground. He was again flying a kite, but this one had a string that was hundreds of feet long. Sawka was cited for disorderly conduct, public nuisance and being in a playground after hours.
Now, here’s where the conflicting testimony begins.
According to St. Paul police spokesman Andy Skoogman, on the confrontation between the officers and Sawka, “Our officers asked him if he was trying to get a rise out of the public by flying his kite at night and he nodded yes. He may think it’s funny, but we think it’s a waste of our resources.” Skoogman said.
Ernest Sawka Jr. vehemently denied giving a nod to that getting a “rise” statement . Instead, he stated:
“I was doing it because I enjoy doing it, I think it’s cool. I don’t care what the public thinks.”
This also raises the question whether it is a crime to fly an LED kite at night, a growing pastime. Sawka said that he did ask officers if it was a crime to fly the kite when they approached him. He said that they said no. Presumably, the trouble stemmed from the admission that he was “trying to get a rise out of the public’”, a nodding gesture Sawka said he didn’t make. Sawka isn’t worried very much about it.
“Hopefully, the judge will say, ‘You’re here for flying a kite?’ and drop the case,” he said.
Here’s an unrelated video of an LED kite.