By David Highfield

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.

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“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.

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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.

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David Highfield