PICO RIVERA — For the second time in five months, deputies arrested a teenage boy late Tuesday on suspicion of shining a laser beam at a sheriff’s helicopter.
Deputies flying in a helicopter asked for help from ground units about 10:45 p.m. regarding someone shining a green laser at their aircraft from inside a vehicle driving near Rosemead Boulevard and the 5 Freeway, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Andy Berg said in a written statement.
Deputies found the car travelling on the 605 Freeway and pulled it over, detaining several people who were inside, the lieutenant said.
“A 16-year-old passenger was identified by the aero unit personnel as the subject who pointed the laser at the aircraft,” Berg said.
A green laser pen light was found in his possession, and the teen admitted to shining the laser at the helicopter, he added.
The teenage suspect was released to his parents with a citation to appear in court.
Green lasers, which have became cheaply available to consumers in recent years, are marketed as being many times brighter than their older, red counterparts.
While they have legitimate uses, such as giving presentations or astronomy, the devices have been causing issues for law enforcement aircraft, for more than two years.
Pico Rivera sheriff’s deputies arrested a 15-year-old boy Dec. 16, 2010 after allegedly shining a green laser light at a sheriff’s helicopter as it was trying to land at the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The light distracted the pilot to the point where he felt he could not safely land the aircraft and the landing was aborted,” the statement said.
A search soon turned up the 15-year-old suspect, who had a laser pointer with him, officials said.
Pico Rivera deputies arrested a local 24-year-old man Aug. 8, 2009, on suspicion of shining a green laser pointer at aircraft.
West Covina police jailed a 28-year-old local man March 2 on suspicion of shining a green laser beam at both police and civilian aircraft between December of 2009 and January of 2011.
In addition to a green laser pointer with a range of about 10,000 feet, officers also discovered the suspect had a police radio scanner with him.
El Monte police jailed a 19-year-old man in February on suspicion of shining a green laser pointer at a police helicopter as it orbited over the scene of a traffic crash.
Lasers, which can temporarily blind or disorient pilots, can be highly dangerous to both people on aircraft and those on the ground below, sheriff’s officials said.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials have cautioned the public that a laser beam pointing directly into the eye can be more damaging than staring at the sun.
Shining a laser at an aircraft can be punished either as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances, officials added. Those convicted can face a maximum of three years in prison and a $2,000 fine.