Two People Arrested for Directing Laser Pointer at Plane

ksyz, flickr

Chicago police have arrested and charged two people who allegedly aimed a laser pointer at a commercial plane around Midway Airport on Thursday night, and later aimed the beam at a police helicopter sent to investigate.

Police arrested 23-year-old Shania Smith and 24-year-old Elvin Slater about five miles east of the airport last night after a pilot reported a laser beam had been pointed at a plane. According to police, the pilot first contacted officials inside the control tower at the airport, who in turn called police.

Chicago police disclosed to AOL Travel News that when a police helicopter was dispatched to investigate the initial report, the light beams were also shined on the helicopter.

From there, the helicopter flight crew was able to determine where the laser beam originated, and directed ground units to the exact location.

"Upon arrival, the officers found Smith and Slater seated in a vehicle and were found to be in possession of a laser," the Chicago police say in a statement.

The pair was charged with six counts of pointing a laser at an officer, a misdemeanor.

In January, the Federal Aviation Administration reported incidents of lasers being pointed at aircraft had nearly doubled in 2010 to more than 2,800 incidents nationwide. Just a few days later, a 24-year-old man was arrested in San Jose after shining a laser pointer at a private airplane and a sheriff's helicopter that had responded to the incident. As recently as February, a 14-year-old girl was arrested for pointing a laser beam at a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.

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