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Homeland Security

LA police arrests two for pointing lasers at aircraft

RIA Novosti

11:23 05/07/2011 MOSCOW, July 5 (RIA Novosti) - Los Angeles police have arrested two men on suspicion of shining a laser at police helicopters using pointer devices, Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday, quoting Sgt. Mel Stevenson from the Los Angeles Police Department's Air Support Division.

Floyd Atkins, 22, and Alvaro Jimenez, 20, were arrested early Monday at a home near downtown Los Angeles. Police officers found two lasers which can cause a pilot to be temporarily blinded and sustain retina damage.

"Over the past six months, we've had numerous laser incidents with aircraft in the same area," Stevenson said.

According to Stevenson, a police helicopter was illuminated by a laser right before the end of the pilot's shift on Monday. Minutes later, a second police helicopter arrived to search for the suspects and the aircraft was also hit by a laser. The pilot was wearing protective goggles.

Shining a laser at an airplane or helicopter is a felony and can lead to federal charges, Stevenson said. Such incidents were recorded also in other countries, particularly in Russia, Switzerland and Greece.

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