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Tue, Dec 11, 2007

Man Who Shone Laser At Police Helo To Face Federal Charges

Police Pinpoint Location, Man Found Minutes Later

As the ANN staff works diligently to ready our End-Of-Year coverage, one category of citizen has risen to the very top of our "Aero-Twerps" list for 2007: bozos who shine laser pointers at flying aircraft. And lo and behold, we have another one to tell you about.

A Medford, MA man will likely face federal charges, after he allegedly illuminated a State Police helicopter with a portable laser beam device.

The Boston Globe reports the light never actually shined in the pilots eyes, or interfered with the flight... and, as has become rote in such matters, officials add there was no link to a terrorist threat.

The helicopter was flying on a mission to secure a gas tanker that was leaking near the shore when the flight crew noticed a laser light shinning on the aircraft. Police onboard the helicopter used equipment to pinpoint and identify the origin of the laser beam in the Medford-Somerville area.

A search for the unidentified male ensued. Officers from the US Coast Guard -- as well as Medford, Somerville and state police -- searched the area, and arrested the suspect about 90 minutes later.

The case has been turned over to federal officials, since illuminating aircraft in non-emergencies is a federal offense.

Incidentally... a quick search of the ANN archives revealed at least 10 stories of similar occurences since January 1 of this year. Sigh...

FMI: www.medford.org/Pages/index, www.faa.gov, www.fbi.gov

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