PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The FBI wants to crack down on people who point laser pens at planes or helicopters.
While it appears to be a small beam of light on the ground, by the time it reaches the sky, it can be a couple of feet wide and temporarily blind pilots.
“It is important that people understand that aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions,” said Agent Robert Johnson of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Office.
For the next 90 days, the FBI will offer rewards of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest in a case where someone points a laser pen at a plane or helicopter.
They plan on publicizing the awards on electronic billboards, social media and radio stations.
There have been reported cases of this in our area, including cases involving Stat MedEvac helicopters.
The penalty for knowingly pointing a laser pointer at aircraft is up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.