Drones Arrest Could Lead to Drone Controls in Hollywood

8/14/2014 1:00 AM PDT

Arrest Could Lead to Drone Controls in Hollywood

Authorities have confiscated a drone from a man on a mission against the LAPD ... and the action could end up protecting celebrities in Hollywood from unmanned aircrafts.

We've learned Tom Zebra -- the guy who flew a drone over the Hollywood Division of the LAPD a few weeks back -- was flying his drone around the harbor in San Pedro, CA  when the Port Police confronted him and ordered him to land the aircraft. 

The cops grabbed the drone and then placed Zebra under arrest for a city law that prohibits anyone from flying an unmanned aircraft around a public beach.  He was cited and released.

We've learned the arrest got the LAPD buzzing ... because L.A. authorities have been stumped on how to regulate drones.  Up to now the LAPD and prosecutors saw no way to prohibit drones that fly under 400 feet.

But the arrest got law enforcement thinking ... they never thought about this particular law ... which not only prohibits drones around public beaches, but all publicly owned spaces and adjoining parking lots, pools, piers, golf courses and the like.  

We're told L.A. law enforcement now thinks that law can be used to protect celebs who live along California's coast ... including the throngs of famous folks in and around Malibu.  

Turns out the law also prohibits drones from buzzing over horse paths and hiking trails, and lots of celebs -- especially in the Calabasas area -- have homes that would be protected.

For celeb homes not protected under the existing law ... we're told authorities are working to draft new legislation aimed at protecting all private residences from drones.