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Crime & Justice

Legislation lands a second suspect in the battle between lasers and flying machines

Photo by l indien via Flickr Creative Commons

To purposefully point a laser at an aircraft is now a federal offense, and a Los Angeles 18-year-old faces the possibility of up to 10 years in prison for allegedly aiming a green one at an airplane and a helicopter in March.

Adam Gardenhire was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, the second use of new legislation passed last year.

Lasers can blind or distract pilots, according to the FAA, and the growing number of incidents prompted the new measure. More than 3,500 reports were registered last year.

Prosecutors say the man aimed first at a Cessna, and then at the Pasadena police helicopter responding to the pilot's call to authorities.

Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner