In Roanoke, Virginia, one choir is feeling full of early Christmas cheer after the group’s stolen drone was safely returned. The Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir was recording their holiday concert using a drone and a volunteer videographer’s cell phone when the drone was seemingly stolen from the taping. The choir was already adapting their usual staged holiday show into a prerecorded special and had to spread out their choir members as a COVID-19 precaution. The drone seemed like the perfect tool to capture the group and the scenic backdrop where the performance was taking place. However, when the group began to pack up the equipment, their perfect plan appeared to have gone awry. The group could not find the drone, and all signs pointed to a theft.
The videographer had set the drone aside after taping, with his cell phone still attached. It seems that this was the moment that someone took the drone. Parents and volunteers conducted a thorough, systematic search of Green Hill Park, where the recording had occurred. Boxes were opened, unpacked, and thoroughly searched for the missing equipment. The group was able to track the cellphone to a nearby residence. Yet after the police searched the house, neither the phone nor the drone was found. The videographer’s cell phone had died at this point, so they could no longer track its location. The choir, a nonprofit organization, thought all hope was lost - mainly because they could not retrieve the drone’s footage without physical possession of the drone.
This story has a happy ending, however. It took a seemingly reformed thief, a good Samaritan dog walker, and a little bit of luck, but the drone was finally returned to the Children’s Choir. A man walking his dog in Green Hill Park found the drone. It appears that the thief returned it to the scene of the crime. The finder was kind enough to post about it on Next Door, an app used to help neighbors communicate. The Children’s Choir director, Kim Davidson, spotted the Next Door post and retrieved the drone from the dog walker. All of the choir’s footage was in perfect condition, able to be used for their Christmas special.
No one knows why someone stole the drone or why (s)he decided to return it. What the choir does know is that they can spread their Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear - even if this year’s cheer looks a little different.