EAST NAPLES, FL – According to a criminal news report on shorenewsnetwork.com, a man from East Naples man was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony. The suspect allegedly pointed a laser light at a passing Collier County Sheriff's Office helicopter. The 43-year-old man was charged with misuse of a laser lighting device, which is a third-degree felony in Florida.
According to the news report, a helicopter crew was flying Air1 over the area of Santa Barbara and Davis Boulevards at approximately 1 a.m. on Monday. As the Collier County Sheriff's deputies conducted their patrol, the helicopter was flashed by a green laser light device. The green laser struck the tactical flight officer in his eyes, and he was temporarily blinded for several seconds. The helicopter pilot turned the helicopter toward the direction of where the laser light was emanating. The law enforcement officers ascertained that the green laser was being flashed by someone located in the Wildwood Lakes area.
The officers then used infrared technology to close in on the suspect's general area, and then they were able to pinpoint the suspect. The helicopter crew continued to watch the suspect and then directed Collier County Sheriff's Office deputies on the ground to the suspect's residence.
When the Collier County Sheriff's Office deputies made contact with the suspect, he admitted that he pointed the green laser at the helicopter. However, the suspect stated that he did so by accident. Upon further investigation by investigators, the suspect repeatedly shone the green laser at the Collier County Sheriff's Office helicopter and continued to do so for two to three minutes. This established enough probable cause for the suspect to be placed under arrest. The 43-year-old suspect has been charged with "misuse of a laser lighting device."
According to Florida State Statute 784.062-3a, a person has committed a crime when he or she willfully and knowingly points, shines, or focuses a laser lighting device's beam on a person driving or operating any motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft. The crime is charged as a third-degree felony.