Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into a disturbing trend.
A Florida man was arrested Wednesday night for pointing a laser at the Volusia Sheriff’s Office Air One helicopter, which had just been struck by a laser the day before.
According to a Volusia County news release, Gregory Marr shone a laser beam “multiple times” at the airborne crew conducting a search on Palm Harbor Parkway in Palm Coast in Flagler County.
The chopper was able to easily pinpoint where the light was coming from and guide deputies on the ground. Marr was hiding near a retention pond before the arrest, cops say. He was briefly jailed and released on $1,500 bond.
“Not only did his dangerous and stupid actions divert our search for the fleeing suspect, but shining a laser at a helicopter could have caused the helicopter to crash by blinding the pilot,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said, according to The Palm Coast Observer.
Just the day before, a few miles away in Edgewater in Flagler County, Florida man Ryan Hutton was arrested for the same offense. Hutton pointed a laser beam at Air One while it was out on a burglary call, according to a separate police report.
Hutton, whose laser managed to zap the pilot in the eye, was on a boat. The pilot told investigators he was temporarily blinded for about five minutes by the suspect’s actions.
The 29-year-old boater later told authorities he thought the helicopter was a drone. He was released on $5,000 bond.
In the state of Florida, flashing a laser beam at a pilot in flight is a felony.