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Mon, Apr 18, 2011

Laser Beam Earns Pennsylvania Man Nearly Three Years In Prison

Aimed His Laser At A Philadelphia Police Helicopter

A federal judge has ordered a 54-year-old Williamsport, PA man to serve 33 months in prison for aiming a laser beam at the cockpit of a Philadelphia police helicopter.

Jame Gautieri was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. He was found guilty of "interference with an aircraft or aircraft facilities."

Philidelphia television station WCAU reports that the helicopter was on approach at the time of the incident. The pilot reports he was temporarily blinded by the flash, and testified in court that, had the copilot not assumed command of the aircraft, it would have gone down in a residential neighborhood.

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said in a statement the Gautieri would "now have several years to think about how he endangered public safety" when he hid behind a shed and lit up the helo's cockpit. He was arrested behind that shed with the laser pointer on the ground beside him.

The case was investigated by the FBI as well as the U.S. Attorney's office.

FMI: www.paed.uscourts.gov

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