Reddit user Seventy_Seven, who has declined to release his real name, discovered the box on his doorstep. The college student lives somewhere in the northern U.S.
"I had ordered a weightlifting bench (which I received) and this came with it," he wrote with photos of the item. "Both boxes has UPS labels with my name and address."
As if he were demonstrating the unboxing of Apple's latest product, the redditor posted a series of pictures displaying the box's contents. An index card noting that the drone was "USA Federal Property" listed the return address as the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center. Other photos showed what appeared to be the device's wings and controller.
"Just called UPS. They told me that it was one of the undelivered packages in their office, and asked if I've ever had an undelivered package," the college student posted on Reddit. "I said no, but he insisted that it was mine, and said that it was up to me if I want to keep it or not."
According to the website Vice, the drone belongs to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is used for wildlife and environment monitoring. A spokesperson for NOAA, David Miller, confirmed to Vice that it was missing.
"We sent one of our Puma unmanned aircraft systems to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts," he said. "We sent a set of about eight boxes for this one aircraft system, and one was misdelivered by UPS."
Miller noted that the agency is working with the delivery service to resolve the issue, but the Reddit user took it upon himself to reach out to NOAA.
"After describing what happened, he seemed pretty content about it," the redditor said in an update on the original thread. "They were happy I reached out to them, and now know where their missing shipment went."
Seventy_Seven says he is now in contact with someone "higher-up" at NOAA to "organize how to get this thing back where it belongs."