Man Gets 8 Months For Pointing Laser at Plane - 8 News NOW

Man Gets 8 Months For Pointing Laser at Plane

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LAS VEGAS -- A man who pointed a green light laser at three airplanes landing at McCarran International Airport and then shined the light on a police helicopter in August 2011 was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in jail, announced Daniel Bogden, U.S. Attorney for Nevada.

In March, Michael Viera-Crespo Jr., 28, pleaded guilty to attempted destruction of an aircraft. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Miranda Du.

Viera-Crespo has been in custody since March 27.

"These powerful lasers have the potential to harm a pilot's vision and affect their ability to safely operate an aircraft," Bodgen said. He added that his office takes these cases seriously, as it has the potential for harm to the pilots, their passengers and the public.

Viera-Crespo was standing outside an apartment complex shortly after 9:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2011, when he shined a strong and very bright green laser light into the cockpit of at least three commercial jets on final approach to the airport. The airport reported the incident to Metro Police, which then sent a helicopter to investigate. Viera-Crespo then pointed the laser at the helicopter, according to Bogden's office.

Police officers found Viera-Crespo at the apartment complex on Tamarus Street shining the laser.

In his plea agreement, he said he shined the laser at the airplanes to interfere with the pilots and that he acted with reckless disregard or the people onboard the airplanes.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the number of lasers pointed at an aircraft has risen dramatically in the past several years. The lasers can temporarily diminish eyesight or blind pilots as they are navigating their planes close to the ground.

Some industrial lasers are capable of permanently damaging the eye.

As of February 2012, it is against federal law to aim the beam of a laser at an aircraft or in its flight path.


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