FBI Now Offering $10K Rewards to Catch Laser-Pointers Aimed at Aircraft
According to the federal agency, incidents have risen considerably, and new reward program has brought in more tips and leads.
Remember when we used to get in trouble for shining a laser-pointer in class? Or how much fun it is to make the cat dance and jump at the wall?
Apparently numerous people across the country think it's funny to shine laser pointers are airplanes and helicopters - resulting in numerous pilots requiring medical attention to their eyes!
The FBI says 35 incidents have been compiled as of last December in which pilots required medical attention. A laser pointer, especially larger ones, can send piercing light up to a mile. The effect of a pilot being blinded by one in the cockpit it similar to a flashbulb going off in a dark room! Most of the incidents were reported near airports, or with low-flying helicopters. The FBI says a pilot blinded on takeoff or landing could have disastrous results.
NW Cable News reports a California man is going to jail for 14 years for purposely pointing one at a police chopper and a hospital helicopter. If you're caught doing it on purpose, it's a felony.
A new pilot program started four months ago has led to a 19% increase in tips about incidents, and it's been expanded nationwide. The FBI is offering a reward of $10,000 for information directly leading to the apprehension of someone who is found to have pointed such a laser at any type of aircraft.
The FBI says a number of incidents have been reported at Sea-Tac airport near Seattle over the last few years.