|Laser pointer crime – FBI photo|
Laser pointers are now considered weapons that can land you in federal prison for nearly 2 1/2 years even when you plead guilty.
On Monday, a judge sentenced California teenager Adam Gardenhire to 30 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to deliberately directing his laser pointer at a private plane.
According to CNN:
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson sentenced a 19-year-old man on Monday to 30 months in federal prison for shining a laser pointer at a plane and police helicopter, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case.
Adam Gardenhire deliberately pointed the commercial grade green laser at a private Cessna Citation that was landing at the Burbank Bob Hope Airport in California on March 29, 2012.
Gardenhire, of North Hollywood, California, was arrested and pleaded guilty in the incident as part of an agreement with prosecutors in October.
“Gardenhire had no idea that the deceptively ordinary laser he had borrowed from a friend was powerful enough to be seen by, much less distract, a pilot thousands of feet away,” wrote attorney Sean Kennedy.
Negligence simply wasn’t good enough to protect this non-violent young man from prison time.
The FAA says that laser pointers are dangerous to pilots because it may temporarily blind them. They claim that over 3600 laser incidents occurred in 2011.
Below is a compelling video of the FBI catching a laser pointer criminal in the act in 2011. This 2-year-old video shows the FBI’s incredibly advanced surveillance technology: