Man arrested for laser pointer antics

November 24, 2008 4:43:30 PM PST
El Cerrito police arrested a 51-year-old man this morning for allegedly targeting a California Highway Patrol helicopter with a laser pointer and briefly incapacitating the pilot.

The incident happened around 2:50 a.m. as a CHP helicopter with three officers on board assisted El Cerrito police in a search for a burglary suspect.

The aircraft was approximately 1,000 feet above ground when it was targeted by someone using a laser pointer in the area of Seaview Drive and Moeser Lane.

The pilot of the helicopter was briefly incapacitated by the laser, but another officer on the aircraft managed to see where the laser was coming from and notify El Cerrito police, CHP flight Officer Jeff Moring said.

Police located the suspect, who was on probation and wanted for auto theft in Colorado, and arrested on him on felony charges.

Moring said similar crimes have occurred all over the Bay Area and arrests were made last year in Concord and Los Gatos after aircraft were targeted by laser pointers.

Last week, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of Michael Weeker, a 39-year-old Campbell man who is suspected of shining a green laser at several aircraft over the past three years.

Moring stressed the danger of direct eye contact with a laser. "It'll blind you for upwards of two to three minutes," he said.


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