A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

US: Multilple laser pointer attacks on Chesapeake Bay ships

The U.S. Coast Guard reported that multiple ships in the Chesapeake Bay had a laser aimed at them in April and early May 2017. The laser light came from an area between Drum Point and Cove Point in St. Marys County, Maryland:

Laser Chesapeake Bay

The following is from a Coast Guard press release dated May 4 2017:

The Coast Guard is investigating multiple laser strikes during the past month aimed at commercial vessels transiting the Chesapeake Bay and warns the public of this dangerous act.

Four incidences occurred early Wednesday morning between midnight and 3 a.m., involving the motor vessels Salome, Bulk Spain, and AM Annaba. Additionally, a pilot vessel was lased as it was on its way back to the pilot launch.

Three other incidents occurred: Monday around 2 a.m., involving the motor vessel Hoegh Osaka; Sunday at 4 a.m., and involved the cruise ship Carnival Pride and another April 7 at approximately 1 a.m., involving the motor vessel Maersk Kolkata.

During all incidents, the laser light was described as steady, powerful and somewhat painful to the eyes. The reporting source believes the laser originated in the area between Drum Point and Cove Point, and lasted for approximately 15 minutes.

“Laser lights, and other bright lights can be a hazard to navigation,” said Lt. Trish Elliston, Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capitol Region. “The most likely scenario is the laser would blind or distract a pilot which would prevent the pilot from seeing a smaller vessel. This could cause a collision or other serious incident in the shipping channel.”

The Laser Safety Act, makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly and willfully cause or attempt to cause bodily injury by shining, pointing, or focusing the beam of a laser pointer on an individual operating a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft. The penalty is a maximum 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

The Coast Guard is working with state and local law enforcement along with Chesapeake Bay Pilots to investigate the incidents. Anyone with information leading to the whereabouts of the individual, or individuals, involved are asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region Command Center at 410-576-2525 or via email at cgis-baltimore@uscg.mil.

US: Illinois man charged with aiming laser pointer at officer

Clinton N. Sanders, 33, of Gillespie, Illinois (about 38 miles NE of Saint Louis, Missouri) has been charged with aggravated battery and disorderly conduct with a laser pointer in connection with an April 28 2017 incident in which he allegedly picked an officer up off the ground in a bear hug and aimed an operating laser pointer at the officer.

From “Court News” in the Macoupin (IL) County Enquirer-Democrat

UK: Man assaulted with laser pen, falls, requires surgery

A man in his 40s, who was walking his dog in Weymouth, Dorset, was assaulted by another man who aimed a green laser pen into the dog’s eyes. This “caused the dog to bolt forward and aggravated an existing back injury the victim had received.” The victim fell down, and the attacker then aimed the laser into the man’s eyes.

Police said that the victim “is likely to have to undergo surgery to repair damage caused to his back following this incident.”

The attack happened at about 9:20 pm on April 23 2017. Police did not release details until May 4.

From the Dorset Echo

US: Apple employees' vision affected by prototype laser device

An Apple Inc. employee reported “discomfort” after a laser was flashed in her eye several times on February 21 2017. Another employee on March 2 reported eye pain. This is according to an April 14 “Environment Health and Safety” contractor report that was leaked to the tech blog Gizmodo.

The document lists over 70 incidents. The two which involve prototype hardware that includes, or appears to include, laser light are:

  • “After BT4 user study, user advised study lead, that she experienced discomfort in her eye and said she was able to see the laser flash at several points during the study. Study lead referred her to optometrist and secured prototype unit for analysis.”
  • “Employee reported eye pain after working with new prototype, thought it may be associated with use. He noticed that the security seal on the magenta (outer) case had been broken and had thought the unit may have been tampered with.”

Gizmodo wrote that “a source inside Apple speculated that this [March 2] injury may have something to do with an augmented reality product Apple may be testing, something like glasses with an overhead display.”

Another tech blog, SlashGear, speculated on how Apple might be using lasers in or near eyes: “There are several possibilities as to how the lasers mentioned in one of the incident reports might be involved in that, depending on the technologies Apple is using. For instance, laser projection – where graphics are created directly on the eye using a system of targeted laser light – has been used by several companies wanting to make a daylight-visible UI. Another alternative, and possibly a more likely one, is laser eye-tracking. That relies on using lasers to monitor eye movement in real-time, so that the wearer’s direction of gaze can be calculated. Such a system would be able to figure out what the user was looking at and potentially control a user-interface that way.”

From Gizmodo and SlashGear

US: Man charged with assault for aiming laser at state trooper who was driving

On April 14 2017, a Michigan State Police trooper driving on his way to a crash had a laser aimed at him. The trooper’s partner was able to identify a male suspect who was taken into custody.

On April 17 state police announced that Jonathan Edward Rayner was arrested and a laser pointer was retrieved. Rayner had been a passenger in another car on the highway. The 32-year-old man was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, and with “assaulting-resisting-obstructing a police officer.” Both assault charges are felonies. The maximum penalty is four years in prison on the dangerous weapon charge, and 20 years in prison for assaulting a police officer.

Jonathan Edward Rayner laser
Jonathan Edward Rayner


The incident happened on eastbound Interstate 94 in Wayne County at about 8 pm. The trooper was taken to a hospital “with vision problems and headache.” Later that day, state police tweeted “His vision has returned and he has been cleared. Other than a serious headache he should be back to work.”

From two tweets by Michigan State Police Metro Detroit, as initially reported in
ClickOnDetroit.com. Announcement of the suspect’s name and the charges from the Detroit News, Fox 2 Detroit and the Morning Sun. Thanks to David Bothner for bringing this to our attention.

Canada: Laser pointer aimed into home; police lecture offender

Police were called to a home in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on January 25 2017, where someone was aiming a laser pointer into the home. “They found the offending laser pointer operator and advised him about approved uses of laser pointers.”

From a “Daily police calls” column in the Moose Jaw Times Herald

US: $13,241 in fines, 15 days in jail for Washington state man who aimed at a ferry

On December 27 2016 the U.S. Coast Guard assessed a civil penalty of $9,500 against Mark Raden, 27, for “interfering with the safe operation of a vessel” by aiming a blue laser at a Washington state ferry on October 22 2015. One of the ferry’s officers was said to have burns on his eyelid.

Raden also pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in Island County Superior Court. He was ordered to serve 15 days in jail, perform 240 hours of community service, pay $3,740.89 in restitution to the master and chief mate, and serve 24 months probation.

On April 26 2016, the Coast Guard issued a civil penalty of $100,000 against Raden. According to a Coast Guard press release at the time, “Coast Guard officials are seeking civil penalties for violation of a safety and security zone as well as interference with the safe operation of the Tokitae [ferry] while it transited between Mukilteo and Clinton [in Washington state]. The final civil penalty amount [which turned out to be $9,500] will be determined by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer in Arlington, Va.”

A Coast Guard spokesperson told Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica "Originally there were multiple charges that brought the maximum amount to $100,000 [as] referenced in the original [press] release. Ultimately the hearing officer has the final say and chose to only pursue the one charge for 'interfering with the safe operation of a vessel' and assessed a fine of $9,500."

Raden has previously been in trouble for misusing a laser. In July 2015, Raden and his friend Dillon Reisman, 27, were aiming a laser into house windows in Langley, Washington, in order to “cause alarm to anyone trying to sleep.” When confronted by police, Raden repeatedly aimed the laser beam into an officer’s face. Felony charges were not filed until November 18 2015.

In yet another incident, police said Raden was accused of using a laser and acid as weapons.

From the Chronicle, the San Juan Islander and Ars Technica. The original LaserPointerSafety.com story about the incident is here; an updated story with news about Raden’s arrest and the Coast Guard penalty is here. Additional details of Raden’s previous run-ins over misusing lasers can be found in an April 11 2016 HeraldNet story.

US: Man charged with using laser pointer to lure feral cats into dog attack

A witness reported a man and his pit bull dog were “terrorizing” feral cats on Digital Drive. The man would use a laser pointer to lure the cats out from a dark corner so that his dog could attack the felines. The disturbance was reported 11:10 p.m. December 4 2016.

From the December 8 2016 “Police blotter” report in the Morgan Hill (Calif.) Times

US: Man charged with pointing laser at two Va. police officers

A man was charged for shining a laser on two Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department officers on December 6 2016.

Just after 2 a.m., two officers, dressed in full uniform, responded to the 12200 block of Water Elm Lane for a report of concern for a garage door that was left partially open. As they waited outside a home to speak to someone, one officer noticed a red laser pointed directly at them. Not knowing the source or purpose of the light, both officers took cover.

They saw the suspect standing on an apartment balcony nearby, in the 4400 block of Milroy Way. They went to the apartment and identified the suspect, who was cooperative. Officers determined the device was a small laser pointer.

Johnny A. Tela, 24, of Centreville, was issued a summons for pointing a laser at a law-enforcement officer (Va State code 18.2-57.01).

From a Fairfax County Police Department news story

Mexico: Laser aimed at NFL quarterback during game

A green laser was aimed multiple times at the helmet and face of Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, during a National Football League game played November 21 2016 in Mexico City. Here are two photos taken of the same play, from different vantage points:

Brock Osweiler laser 02

Brock Osweiler laser 01

The first incident happened near the end of the second quarter of play. When the game resumed after halftime, the laser was again aimed onto the field about two minutes into the third quarter, on running back Lamar Miller:

Lamar Miller laser 01

According to analyst John Harris of HoustonTexans.com, “The Texans security spent nearly the entire first half trying to find the culprit in the North end zone. There were state and city police in that end zone for most of the rest of the half. I don’t know if they ever found anyone….”

After the game, Osweiler was asked about the laser interference: “There were multiple times I saw a green laser coming from the stands. There were a couple of times it definitely hit me in the eye. And it was very noticeable…. Certainly, having a laser zoomed in on your eyeball definitely affects how you play.”

Click to read more...

Korea: "Anti-fan" said to attack singer with laser pointer during concert

Singer Jung Chaeyeon of girl group I.O.I had an apparent laser pointer aimed at her face and into her eye during a televised performance on October 26 2016. She continued to sing and appeared to be unfazed and unhurt by the light.

The incident occurred on MBC Music’s “Show Champion” television show. Video shows a brief, approximately 5-second period when a relatively dim light can be seen on Chaeyeon’s face:

Pic 2016-10-31 at 2.43.12 AM

Pic 2016-10-31 at 2.42.14 AM

An alleged screenshot on Koreaboo.com (below, top images) shows a brighter dot that is yellow with red glowing edges. However, the dot appears to be photoshopped since a video screenshot of the same moment captured by LaserPointerSafety.com shows a dimmer dot (below, bottom images):

Jung Chaeyeon laser Koreaboo screenshot
Jung Chaeyeon laser Koreaboo closeup
From Koreaboo.com; oval added on Koreaboo version. Closeup on bottom.

Jung Chaeyeon laser LPS screenshot
Jung Chaeyeon laser LPS closeup
Video capture at 00:28. Closeup on bottom.


The original video is here (light spot appears from approximately 00:25 to 00:30):



The Google-translated headline on a story from Korean website Dispatch.co.kr is “ ‘Fans rage, threatening safety’ … jeongchaeyeon laser beam terrorism”

According to Koreaboo.com, the alleged laser pointer came from an “anti-fan.” This is a concept where people who dislike celebrities will take negative actions against the celebrity or their fans. For example, one girl group member, Gan Mi-Yeon, received “scores of ‘fan mail’ filled with razors … along with pictures of her with her eyes taken out or letters written in blood.” In 2000, a boy band member was given a soda injected with bleach; his mother happened to drink it and was hospitalized.

Article in English from Koreaboo.com. Original article from Dispatch.co.kr, English translation from Google. Anti-fan information from the Ask A Korean blog.

US: Multi-car crash due to laser being aimed at driver

A woman driving on Interstate 5 in Oregon was dazzled by a green laser beam aimed by the driver of another car. This led to a three-car crash causing body damage to the vehicles. There were no reported injuries due to the crash or the laser light.

The accident occurred at about 5:30 am on October 25 2016. Miranda Senters, 18, was driving her new car, bought one week prior, when the driver in front of her aimed a green laser beam over his shoulder towards her. Senters told KGW News “I just kept going back and forth a little bit, trying to keep out of the light.” The laser driver then went behind Senters’ car and aimed into the rear-view mirror: “…he’s shining it from the back of me into my eyes and I couldn’t see.”

Senters tried to get away but the other driver weaved in and out of lanes to keep up with her. While trying to avoid the light, Senters swerved to the shoulder and spun out. The other car crashed into her. A third driver hit a barrier when trying to avoid the stopped vehicles.

The laser car, an older Honda Civic, left the scene. In an Instagram post, state police asked the public to help them find the Civic.

laser car crash Oregon i-5 I5 Senter
State police photo showing Senters’ car with driver side damage, at the scene on Interstate 5.


Senters later told KPTV “He had a little laser and was trying to get it through my front window. I went blind because a green laser light — like my eyes still hurt from that, I can still see it…. I don’t understand how it’s a joke. It could have killed me.”

From KGW and KPTV. Thank you to George Palikaras for bringing this to our attention.

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: This is the first well-documented case we’re aware of where a laser pointer aimed at a driver directly caused a crash. There was a fatal crash in 1998 which was partially blamed on a laser pointer, and an indirect reference to a three-car accident in 1999. There have also been a number of near-accidents and other car-related laser incidents which are listed here.

Scotland: Woman attacked by teens with laser pen, blinded in one eye

A 33-year-old woman was blinded in one eye by a laser pen during an attack by two boys who were about 14 or 15 years old.

She was walking on a road, under a railway bridge, in Clydebank when the incident took place at about 10 pm on September 10 2016. The exact nature of the attack — whether money was demanded or if the lasing was random — was not described in news accounts.

The woman was taken to a hospital about 4 miles away. She later reported the assault to the police. News about the attack was not released until a week later.

News reports quoted a Police Scotland spokesperson as saying, “This was a completely unprovoked and senseless attack on this woman, which has left her blind in one eye. The youths responsible must be caught as soon as possible. To point a laser pen at someone is highly irresponsible. Extensive inquiries are ongoing to trace the two boys, with officers carrying out inquiries in the local area and studying CCTV footage to identify them.”

The attack comes just a few days after a man was arrested for aiming a laser pen at a Police Scotland helicopter in Clydebank on September 5 2016.

From BBC News and Glasgow Evening Times

US: College football referee asks fans to stop shooting laser beams onto field

During a September 16 2016 college football game in Houston between rivals Rice and Baylor, someone in the stands shone a green laser beam onto the field.

Pic 2016-09-17 at 10.30.14 AM

The referee stopped the game and, using the public address system, faced the crowd and said “Ladies and gentlemen, please refrain from shooting lasers onto the field. Thank you.”

A video of the laser beam, and the referee’s announcement, can be seen here.

From USA Today and SB Nation

US: Teen points beam from laser "gun" into officer's eyes

A teenager pointed a laser “gun” at a Northport, NY police officer’s face. The incident happened at 9:45 pm on September 10 2016. The 17-year-old was arrested about 21 hours later, and was charged with second-degree menacing and second-degree harassment.

Northport Police Chief Bill Ricca told LaserPointerSafety.com that the laser beam went into the officer’s face and eyes. The officer was temporarily blinded. He did not feel discomfort, but did go to an eye doctor for an exam which showed no ill effects.

Ricca said that the situation could have been much worse: “If the laser was aimed at the cop’s chest so the cop could see what was going on, I’m sure he might have shot at the kid. We would have had a real bad incident.”

Pic 2016-09-15 at 3.10.06 PM
The laser “gun” used in the incident.

Pic 2016-09-15 at 3.22.30 PM
An Internet search of similar “laser pointer guns” turns up a similar
lighter costing about $7.00.


From Northport Patch and a September 16 2016 phone interview with Chief Bill Ricca

US: Family robbed by men who threatened them with a laser pointer

At about 1 am on September 13 2016, a family was robbed in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, convenience store parking lot by three men. One of them aimed a laser pointer at the father and demanded cash and purses. The family turned over the items and the men left.

A news story states “It’s not clear if the men had any weapons.”

From NewsOn6.com

US: Disorderly man aims laser pointer at police officer

A disorderly man was arrested in New Castle, Indiana, for aiming a red laser pointer at a police officer.

At about 4:35 am on September 11 2016, city police were called to a tavern where 57-year-old David Roginski was trying to enter — although the tavern was closed. He shouted at officers, flipped a lit cigarette at them, then pointed the laser at an officer while hiding behind a traffic light box.

He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and with directing a laser pointer at a public safety officer. Each charge could result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days. (On September 13, he was separately charged with auto theft, stemming from allegedly stealing a vehicle on September 7. Roginski has had multiple past run-ins with the law, as well.)

From the Star Press and the Courier-Times

US: Study examines 4 laser-caused eye injuries in children, at one medical practice

A study in the October 2016 journal Pediatrics described four cases where children had laser-related eye injuries, all being presented at a single clinical practice within a two-year period. The authors call this “[t]o our knowledge, the largest reported case series of laser pointer-induced retinal damage in the pediatric population in a developed country to date.”

In a separate interview, one of the authors, ophthalmologist Dr. David Almeida, said these cases are “happening more frequently…. It was previously thought this was a one-in-a-million event. It's still probably a rare-to-uncommon reaction, but it's not a never reaction.”

All four children had foveal laser burns. Three of the children had potentially permanent vision loss. These are the cases:

  • A 12-year-old boy looked into a green laser pointer for about a minute. He had decreased central vision in both eyes, with 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/30 in another. His vision and macular condition was found to be unchanged after 7 months.
  • A 16-year-old teenager similarly had central vision loss in both eyes, after playing with a green laser pointer for about 30 seconds. He was first examined three days after the exposure, scars and atrophy were found on the retina. Two weeks later his vision has worsened. Visual acuity was 20/40 in both eyes with no improvement.
  • A 9-year-old boy looked at the reflection of a green laser pointer in a mirror (essentially the same as a direct beam) for an unknown length of time. His vision was 20/50. He was treated with 1% prednisolone three times a day for two weeks. His vision improved to 20/30, but he still had “persistent abnormalities of the photoreceptors.”
  • A 12-year-old boy looked into a red laser pointer for about 15 seconds. He had central vision loss, and 20/70 vision. He was given an injection of bevacizumab, which gradually improved his vision and symptoms. After 1 year, he had 20/20 vision.

The authors noted that laser pointers are more available, that users may not be aware of the dangers, and that some users may use pointers improperly.

Visible lasers less than 5 milliwatts (the U.S. legal standard for a laser to be marketed as a “pointer”) are considered to be generally safe due to the bright light reflex, which causes a person to blink and turn away from a bright light. So one question is why these children were injured by laser pointers.

One reason, according to the authors, is that “children increase their chance to retinal injury by staring at the laser beam without blinking or averting the eye for a prolonged duration.”

Another possible cause is that “the labeling of the power output of a laser point may be different from the device’s actual specifications.” They referred to a study of 122 laser pointers, where 90% of green pointers and 44% of red pointers were above the 5 milliwatt U.S. legal limit.

The study said that treatment options were “limited and also controversial.” Use of corticosteroids has shown “mixed results.” It may be enough to observe a patient over time, since many injuries will stabilize.

The authors recommended that laser pointer hazards “should be communicated to health professionals, school teachers, and guardians in an attempt to raise the public awareness of this emerging public health issue. Unsupervised use of these laser pointer devices among children should be discouraged, and there is a need for legislation to limit these devices in the pediatric population.”

From Retinal Injury Secondary to Laser Pointers in Pediatric Patients, Kunyong Xu, Eric K. Chin, Polly A. Quiram, John B. Davies, D. Wilkin Parke III and David R.P. Almeida, in Pediatrics; originally published online September 1, 2016; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-1188. A general interest article summarizing the study, with additional comments from Almeida and another ophthalmologist, is at HealthDay.com. The abstract of the Pediatrics article is below; click the “Read More…” link.


Click to read more...

US: Laser pointer sale gone bad escalates to airsoft gun, then real gun

On August 19 2016, a group of men having alcoholic drinks in a Mill Creek (Washington) park discussed the sale of a laser pointer to one of the group. An argument broke out over the exchange of money.

The seller pulled out an airsoft gun, but one of the other men pulled out a .40 caliber pistol. The seller ran away, but was shot by the man with the pistol. The bullet impacted on a metal flashlight in the seller’s backpack, possibly saving his life.

Flashlight laser bullet
The flashlight that took the bullet impact


The shooter was arrested on charges of attempted murder.

From Q13Fox.com

Sweden: Two teens playing Pokemon Go assaulted by laser-wielding couple in pig masks

Two teenagers playing the game “Pokemon Go” on August 12 2016 at around 10 p.m. in Insjön, a small Swedish town of 2,150 inhabitants, came across a couple wearing rubber pig masks. The couple yelled at the teens and waved a green laser at them. One of the teens was lased in the face but the light did not go into an eye. The teens ran off.

The pig-headed couple then went to a local landmark, a large water wheel on Highway 70, where they had sex. This caused a traffic jam.

Police were looking for the pair, since the green laser beam could cause serious eye damage. They may also face sexual harassment charges for the public sex.

From the Daily Mail and The Local. Article in Swedish from Dalarnas Tidnigar; English translation here.

Ukraine: Russia claimed to use laser to burn border guards' retinas

A Ukrainian official said that Russian forces “tested their laser weapons on our soldiers.” Three border guards had retinal burns that damaged their central vision. The guards had been using binoculars and monocles, which could help focus laser light into a more concentrated spot on the retina.

This was the first report of Russian use of a laser to blind, which is prohibited by the United Nations “Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons”. The protocol bans the use of “laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision, that is to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices.”

From Ukraine Today; original story from Interfax-Ukraine

Australia: NSW man avoids conviction for shining laser pointer in public place

A man who owned a laser pointer for two days, was arrested after aiming it on an administration building in the Wollongong (New South Wales) train station.

On May 21 2016 Anthony Vella, 20, was trying out a laser pointer purchased as a gift for him by his brother, to see how far the light was visible. Two transport command police officers saw the laser being used, and charged Vella with using a laser pointer in a public place. They also confiscated the pointer. In testing, they noted that the laser dot was “clearly visible” on a wall 500 meters away.

On July 26 2016 Vella pleaded guilty. His lawyer said Vella was not aware that use of a laser pointer in a public place was illegal.

The judge ruled that Vella broke the law but did not record a criminal conviction due to Vella’s prior good character and lack of malicious intent.

From the Illawarra Mercury

UK: Woman sentenced for illegal laser imports that injured boy's eyesight

A 47-year-old Surrey woman was sentenced in mid-July 2016 to 240 hours of community service for illegally importing 300 over-powered lasers. One of the lasers was sold for £6 (USD $9) at a school Christmas fair and subsequently caused an eye injury to a seven-year-old boy.

Lynsey McClure had imported the lasers from a Chinese supplier who said they complied with U.K. regulations limiting laser pens to 1 milliwatt of power. Her brother, who was not charged, sold them in a stall during a school fair in December 2015. The headmaster asked her brother to stop selling the laser, but he continued.

Lynsey McClure laser
Lynsey McClure


Jonathan Marshall, 7, purchased one of the lasers. It was later found to have an output of 127 milliwatts.

His mother said Jonathan was playing with it at home when the beam went into his eye for “a fraction of a second.” He has a retinal burn which interferes with his vision.

McClure pleaded guilty to nine product safety and consumer protection violations, including selling an unsafe product and failing to disclose the power of the laser.

The case appears to be the first where a person has been prosecuted for an illegal laser sale that led to an injury.

From the Sunday Times (subscription required to read the entire article) and the JC.com

US: Laser aimed at officers during St. Paul protests

St. Paul, Minnesota police tweeted on July 9 2016 “Person with laser sight pointing it at officers.” This occurred during widespread protests in over a dozen U.S. cities, after two black men were killed by officers on July 5 and 6. (The most violent reaction occurred in Dallas on July 7 when a black Army reservist killed five officers, injured eight more, and injured two spectators.)

On July 9 in Philadelphia, CBSPhilly reported that a person was arrested for aiming a laser at a police helicopter after the protest. WHYY Newsworks said that a man was “briefly detained by officers after he used a powerful flashlight to point at the helicopter overhead. Because no illegal laser-pointers were used, he was sent away with a citation for disorderly conduct….” It is not known if these two reports referred to the same incident.

A Google search as of July 11 did not turn up any additional instances where lasers were used in or around protests.

US: UPDATED - Wash. state man charged with lasing ferry; ordered to pay $100,000 fine

27-year-old Mark Raden was alleged to have injured two ferry captains with a nominal 1-watt blue handheld laser. The captains were temporarily blinded and had eye irritation after the October 22 2015 incident. On April 1 2016, Raden was charged with two counts of third-degree assault. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The almost six-month delay was due in part because the crime took place in waters between jurisdictions, making it more complex to determine who would prosecute.

Raden has previously been in trouble for misusing a laser. In July 2015, Raden and his friend Dillon Reisman, 27, were aiming a laser into house windows in Langley, Washington, in order to “cause alarm to anyone trying to sleep.” When confronted by police, Raden repeatedly aimed the laser beam into an officer’s face. Felony charges were not filed until November 18 2015.

In yet another incident, police said Raden was accused of using a laser and acid as weapons.

From MyNorthwest.com

UPDATED - May 2 2016: The U.S. Coast Guard issued a civil penalty of $100,000 against Raden on April 26 2016. According to a Coast Guard press release, “Coast Guard officials are seeking civil penalties for violation of a safety and security zone as well as interference with the safe operation of the Tokitae while it transited between Mukilteo and Clinton. The final civil penalty amount will be determined by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer in Arlington, Va.” The text of the press release is below (click on the “Read More…” link).

Click to read more...

US: Fan banned from basketball arenas for aiming laser at player

A Houston Rockets player had a laser pointer aimed at him, during a January 4 2016 National Basketball Association game against the Utah Jazz. The player, James Harden, pointed to the stands.

Laser NBA Rockets Jazz Harden 00


The perpetrator was found and was ejected from the arena:

Laser NBA Rockets Jazz Harden


He was later banned from NBA arenas for a year.

After the game, Harden said “Some guy was lasering me. I saw it the first time and I thought it was a picture being taken. I went to the foul line again and it happened again. The referee [Tom Washington] caught it before I did. That’s the first time that happened to me.”

Two days later, Harden told ESPN “That's just disrespectful, not just to a basketball player, anybody. Whoever that guy was he wouldn't want to be lasered in the face, so that was disrespectful. It's not my call [on the fan being banned], I'm just trying not to get blind."

From the Houston Chronicle, SB Nation and USA Today

US: Bronx bus driver sees doctor after passenger aims red laser at him

A 52-year-old bus driver had a red laser beam shone in his eye by a passenger, on November 18 2015. The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority bus BX15 was on its route in the Bronx with about 25 passengers aboard when driver Kenneth Johnson saw a flash of red laser light that temporarily blinded him. He stopped the bus and the passengers — including the unknown person with the laser — got off.

Johnson went to a hospital and had an eye examination the next day. (No results were reported as of November 19.)

Because the bus has cameras, the video will be used to try to identify the perpetrator.

According to WABC, this is the first laser incident involving a New York City bus driver.

From WABC

Australia: Teen injures both eyes by looking into laser pointer

A 14-year-old Australian permanently damaged his retinas by deliberately shining a laser pointer into his eyes “for a very brief period of time”, according to the optometrist who examined the teen.

From a November 5 news account, it appears the injury occurred on Friday October 30 2015. The boy saw a general practitioner the following Monday, who then referred the teen to Ben Armitage, a Hobart (Tasmania) optometrist.

Armitage said the boy did not feel pain during the exposure, but he immediately lost visual acuity. “His vision is down to about 25 percent of what we call 20/20 vision and unfortunately at this stage it’s unlikely that vision is ever going to recover.”

Retina laser damage 2015-11-5 Australia
Retina of one of the teen’s two eyes that were damaged by a self-inflicted laser pointer exposure. The injury occurred near the macula. At the center of the macula is the fovea, responsible for sharp central vision.


The damaged area is still swollen; Armitage hopes that some vision may be restored when the swelling recedes.

An Optometry Tasmania spokesperson warned parents not to allow children unsupervised access to laser pointers “and, in fact, better off trying to warn them off because we’ve just seen in this particular case where the future lifestyle of this young person has been seriously affected.”

From ABC (Australia) News

Germany: Bus driver's eye injured by laser pointer aimed by child

An October 5 2015 report in the British Medical Journal Case Reports describes a public bus driver who suffered retinal injury due to a schoolboy aiming a red laser beam into a mirror on the bus, reflecting into the driver’s eyes.

Diagram of laser pointer on bus

The 44-year-old driver stared into the laser several times, as he tried to identify the person holding the laser. He suffered blurred vision in his right eye immediately after the exposure, but waited 6 months before having his first complete eye exam.

The exam showed “spot-like retinal pigment epithelium disturbances temporal to the fovea of the right eye, with no abnormalities in his left eye.” The authors stated that “The subjective complaints and objective ophthalmological findings of this patient were consistent and strongly suggested that the repetitive exposure of the eye to the reflected laser spot 6 months previously had caused subtle but detectable injury to the macula.”

The authors concluded with two “Learning points”:

  • “We suggest that no laser pointers of any class are made available to children, since they are unlikely to understand the risks of permanent retinal damage.”

  • “For the safety of users and the general public, even low-energy handheld laser pointers should not be sold to children.”

The authors did not identify the location of the incident, but it may be Germany since three of the four authors’ institutions were in Germany. Additional analysis and commentary is below (click the “Read More…” link).

From Thanos S, Böhm MRR, Meyer zu Hörste M, et al. “Retinal damage induced by mirror-reflected light from a laser pointer” BMJ Case Reports. Retrieved online: 2015 Nov 05, doi:10.1136/bcr-2015- 210311.
Click to read more...

US: Blue laser pointer said to injure ferry captain in Washington state

The captains of a Washington state ferry were each hit by blue laser light, aimed at them by a man in his twenties from a passing ferry. The October 22 2015 incident lasted about a minute, and resulted in eye injuries to one of the captains. Also, earlier that same evening, a motorcyclist on Whidbey Island had a blue laser aimed at him while going to the ferry terminal.

This map shows the ferries’ route. The map’s indicated positions of the ferries are from a later time and do NOT show their position during the laser incident.

Washington State ferries map

At about 8:30 pm, the ferry M/V Tokitae (shown below) was approaching the Clinton (Wash.) Ferry Terminal. The captains were at wheelhouses on opposite ends of the 362-foot-long ferry. The one piloting the vessel was hit first, and suffered injuries.

Washington State Ferry MV Tokitae 01

According to Washington State Ferries Port Captain Jay Mooney, the man had “third-degree burns on his eyelid and his vision is still not quite back at 100 percent.” (A first-degree burn occurs only on the surface of the skin. A third-degree burn “extends to all layers of the skin,” according to the Wikipedia “Burn” article.)

The blue laser beam came from the slightly smaller ferry M/V Kitsap, which was traveling in the opposite direction.

Washington State Ferry MV Kitsap 328ft

A Kitsap deckhand had seen two men with the laser, and reported it to a Washington State Patrol trooper after arrival at the terminal in Mukilteo. One man told the officer that “it was a new toy and he was shining it at the water and didn’t mean to shine it at the vessel,” according to a WSP spokesperson. The trooper confiscated the laser pointer, shown here:

Blue laser Washington state ferry

The spokesperson said “This is not a typical laser you’d see in a classroom or office setting.” She referenced the manufacturer’s packaging which says to use safety glasses, to not aim it at faces, and that it could light a match if held on target long enough.

A similar-looking laser sold by Lasers-Pointers.com is said to be 5000 mW (5 watts) and costs less than $200:

Lasers-Pointers dot com 5W blue laser

The two captains exposed to the laser light missed one day of work. The suspect who had the laser has not yet been charged, as of October 29 2015. Prosecutors are determining what charges would be appropriate.

UPDATED - November 9 2015: No arrests have yet been made and no charges have been filed, more than two weeks after a suspect was picked up. This is due in part to determining what jursidiction applied, since the laser incident took place on ferries in waters between different Washington state counties. Another difficulty was determining what charge to file. A KIRO radio story also noted the limitations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates lasers. While FDA attempts to block some high-powered lasers, imports can get through. And, “there aren't any penalties for buying or owning those illegally high-powered devices, nor are there requirements for training for non-medical, non-industrial devices.” From MyNorthwest.com

UPDATED - April 18 2015: 27-year-old Mark Raden was charged with assault in the third degree, for aiming at the ferry captains. In addition, he has a previous history of run-ins with law enforcement over laser misuse. Details are here.

An analysis of the laser’s power and capabilities is below (click on the “read more” link).

From KOMO News, Q13Fox, the Kitsap Sun and Wikipedia. Ferry drawings and route map from Washington State Department of Transportation website. Laser pointer info from Lasers-Pointers.com.

Click to read more...

Italy: Prosecutor investigating manslaughter charges in three cases of eye damage to children from laser pointers

In three separate cases, children in the area of Bologna have suffered eye damage caused by laser pointers.

The cases were reported in mid-September 2015 by the St. Ursula Ophthalmology Hospital in Bologna. One of the children was 10; the other two were 13.

The injuries were caused by laser pointers bought by their parents (in two cases) or grandmother (in the third case) in markets in Florence or Bologna. One child had a slight loss of vision, another had significant loss in both eyes, and a third has almost lost his sight and is legally blind.

A public prosecutor, Valter Giovannini, has opened an investigation for aggravated manslaughter against unknown assailants. This seems to indicate that in all three cases, the laser pointer bought by or for the children was used against them by another person.

As a result of the report, Carabinieri NAS (Nuclei Antisofisticazioni e Sanità or “Anti Fraud Squad”), a special police force operating under the Italian ministry of health, seized fifteen illegally-sold laser pointers.

The hospital warned the public not to purchase green laser pointers sold “on the street, in the stalls and fairs.” A spokesperson said higher-powered pointers such as those aimed at players in stadiums were to be avoided. Professional laser pointers used in lectures should not be a problem.

From Corriere di Bologna. Thanks to Alberto Kellner Ongaro for bringing this to our attention.

US: Officers in Green Bay targeted by laser during gun search

A man was arrested on September 7 2015 for aiming a laser pointer at Green Bay, Wisconsin police.

The officers had been searching at about 11 p.m. for a person who threatened someone with a gun. While the police did not find the person, during the search a laser dot was repeatedly aimed onto one of the officers.

A witness described how the laser “starts at the lower part of his torso and works his way up, as if somebody is zoning or eyeing in their weapon at this officer, and that’s exactly what this officer that saw this laser was thinking. He thinks somebody is pointing a laser at a target location on an officer to engage him and shoot him.”

According to a news report, “[t]he officers took cover and followed the laser more than a block away.” Officers confronted Jeffrey Klopotic at his home; the 45-year-old fought with the officers. They found Klopotic had a laser pointer. He was arrested and charged with resisting an officer, obstructing police, intention of directing a laser pointer at an officer, and disorderly conduct.

Jeffrey Klopotic laser
Jeffrey Klopotic

Because guns are often equipped with laser sights, police are worried whenever a laser dot appears on or near them. TV station WBAY purchased a $25 laser pointer and tested it side-by-side along with a laser gun sight. A former police captain they consulted could not tell the difference between the pointer’s dot and the gun sight’s dot.

A Green Bay police spokesman said “When you hear that eight officers are shot in nine days, yeah, it’s certainly going to get the hair on the back of your neck to stand up a little more. People have got to be mindful of what they’re doing, and the decision to do such a thing. It could have ended tragically.”

From WBAY; photo from Arrests.org.

US: Paparazzi call police after Jennifer Garner's bodyguard aims a laser pointer at them

A bodyguard for Jennifer Garner aimed a green laser pointer at paparazzi photographers, who then called police. The August 11 2015 incident occurred at about 11:20 am in the small town of Covington, Georgia (pop. 13,347; 35 miles southeast of Atlanta) where the movie star was filming “Miracles from Heaven.”

According to the Covington News, the photographers told police that the laser light could possibly damage their camera sensors; they also “complained of headaches and said their eyes were starting to dilate.” Emergency medical responders told them “to take Tylenol for their headache.”

Because the local District Attorney’s office said that using a laser pointer was not a criminal offense (except when aimed at a law enforcement office or airplane), the photographers were told that it was a civil matter. No criminal charges were filed.

From the Covington News

Wales: Laser from shore delays lifeboat sea rescue

A lifeboat crew member was temporarily blinded by a laser aimed from shore, during a rescue operation to tow a catamaran to safety in choppy seas. The August 2 2015 incident took place off the Vale of Glamorgan coast, southeast of the town of Porthcawl in South Wales.

A green beam was repeatedly aimed at both of Porthcawl’s lifeboats during the rescue of the crew and the catamaran. The helmsman “was able to recover his vision and resume the operation soon after,” according to a news account.

South Wales police were called to the scene by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Porthcawl, but did not find the perpetrator. They are asking the public for any information.

From Wales Online

US: Laser on gun pointed at teens by off-duty trooper

Two New Jersey teenagers say that on July 26 2015, a man with a gun followed them, they saw a laser being pointed at them, and then the man opened fire. The man later turned out to be an off-duty state trooper using what the state attorney general’s office says was his personal handgun.

From NJ.com

UK: Youth gang aims laser pens at firefighters

A group of about 10 youths in Blackburn, Lancashire set a fire to attract firefighters, then attacked them by throwing furniture and aiming laser pens at them. Two crew members, including the fire engine driver, had lasers shown into their eyes in the July 24 2015 incident.

A spokesperson said “"Luckily none of the firefighters have suffered any lasting effects from the lasers but this could have had serious consequences to the sight of those involved.”

From Express.co.uk and the Lancashire Telegraph

China, Korea: Lasers aimed at Korean pop band EXO during Beijing concert

Laser light was aimed at the face and eyes of K-pop band EXO during a two-day tour stop in Beijing, July 18 and 19 2015. There were no reported injuries, but “laser” became a trending term in Korean social media after images were uploaded of laser light on the faces of the boy band performers.

EXO lasers Beijing

EXO lasers 2 Beijing

EXO lasers 3 Beijing
This photo shows a red light coming from the audience area, aimed towards the stage.


From Koreaboo, Kpop Chart, and KpopStarz

US: Tennessee man "nearly causes accident' aiming laser pointer at cars on Interstate

A 34-year-old Chattanooga (TN) man was arrested for aiming a green laser pointer at vehicles on Interstate 75.

A motorist called 911 to report that a male in the front passenger seat of a silver Honda was shining the laser onto cars and trucks. The caller said the laser made it difficult to see, and almost caused a crash involving an 18-wheel truck and another vehicle. The Honda was traveling northbound on I-75 in Bradley County, east of Chattanooga.

Officers located the car, where Gary Dewayne Couey admitted aiming the laser at other vehicles. He was arrested on a charge of felony reckless endangerment. The driver of the car, 34-year-old Brandi Rapier, was charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Gary Dewayne Couey laser
Gary Dewayne Couey


From WDEF, the Chattanoogan, and the Times Free Press

Scotland: UEFA opens investigation about laser pointer aimed at Aberdeen player

UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) has opened an investigation into a July 2 2015 match between the Aberdeen Dons and KF Shkendija in Macedonia. Dons goalkeeper Danny Ward had a laser aimed into his face by Shkendija fans.

UEFA could impose a fine of €10,000 on the Macedonian club.

Aberdeen Dons Danny Ward laser
Laser light in goalkeeper Danny Don’s face


From the
Herald and the Evening Express

US: San Mateo CA police report elderly man with cane aiming laser at cars around 3 am

The San Mateo County police report for June 29 2015 included this item:

  • BURLINGAME: Suspicious person. An elderly man with a cane was pointing a laser pointer at passing vehicles on Linden Avenue and Oak Grove Avenue before 2:50 a.m.

From the
San Mateo Daily Journal, published July 6 2015

Canada: Laser pointer aimed at motorist causes near-accident

A July 6 2015 story in the Simco (Ontario) Reformer mentions a May 2015 incident where a driver nearly had an accident due to laser pointer blinding: “Norfolk OPP investigated a case in May where a laser pointer was directed into the eyes of a motorist, who then almost drove off the road….”

The July 6 story was about an air ambulance helicopter that was targeted by a laser on July 4. Police were searching for the perpetrator.

From the
Simcoe Informer. This item was of interest to LaserPointerSafety.com since we have heard of only a couple of reports where laser light caused a potential driving accident. As of July 6 2015, we have not heard of an actual accident caused by persons aiming laser light at vehicle drivers.

US: Kentucky police shoot man who aimed gun, laser pointer at them

A 51-year-old Kentucky man who aimed a handgun and a laser pointer at state police was shot on May 9 2015.

Police executing a search warrant at an Eddyville home knocked on the door and identified themselves. John C. Smith came to the door, and aimed the gun and pointer at them. Police told him several times to drop the gun. He refused and was shot in the abdomen.

He lived but was taken to the intensive care unit at a Paducah hospital.

Police found crystal meth, several guns and a “large amount of cash” at the home.

From Kentucky.com

US: Colorado senior used laser pointer while stalking 10-year-old neighbor girl

A 67-year-old Green Mountain Falls, Colorado man convicted of stalking a 10-year-old neighbor girl, used a laser pointer as part of his crimes. Louis Pico aimed the pointer at the girl’s window at night. When she looked out, he would expose himself to the girl.

In addition, the man left notes, money and candy for the girl, and used binoculars to look into their home.

Louis Pico laser stalker
Louis Pico


To avoid having their child testify at a trial, the victim’s parents agreed to a plea bargain deal. Pico pleaded guilty to promotion of obscenity in a minor. He received a 30-day jail sentence, was registered as a sex offender, was forbidden to have any contact with persons 18 or younger, and was required to have mental health treatment.

From KKTV 11 News and The Gazette

US: Florida man points laser at motorists, arrested, found with marijuana up his rear

A 27-year-old man was arrested on April 5 2015 for aiming a laser beam at motorists as he was driven by his girlfriend around Ormond Beach, Florida. When asked why she was being pulled over, driver Brandie Tate, 28, said “Because Jesse was shining the laser light at people and I told him not to.” Passenger Jesse Roepcke told police he did not know it was illegal to shine the light at people and “he was just having fun.”

Police found a smoking device on Roepke that later tested positive for cannabis. During a strip search of Roepcke at the jail, “a bag of a green leafy substance that smelled like marijuana fell out of his rectum.”

Jesse Roepcke laser marijuana
Jesse Roepcke


Roepke was charged with pointing a laser at a driver or pilot, possession or use of narcotic paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and smuggling contraband into a prison.

From ClickOrlando.com and WFTV.com

US: Man stabbed in Pittsburgh after asking persons to stop shining laser pointer at him

A man in Pittsburgh was stabbed with a knife, after he approached two people and asked them to stop shining a laser pointer at him. The victim was with friends on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, around March 15 2015. After asking for the laser aiming to stop, the male suspect told the victim “You shouldn’t have walked up on us like that” and stabbed him in the upper arm with a blade about 5-6” long. The second suspect was a female. University of Pittsburgh campus police were asking for the public’s help in finding the suspects.

From CBS Pittsburgh

US: Railroad engineer wins $5.6M verdict; laser pointer peripherally involved

An Amtrak engineer was awarded $5.6 million on December 5 2014 by a jury who found the railroad company negligent for a situation that led to the man’s beating by a street gang. An unspecified part of the liability was assigned to a laser pointer incident.

On April 16 2007, Jacob Keating stopped his train to get a trespasser off the tracks. A group of gang members attacked Keating and the train’s conductor with rocks. The jury found Amtrak negligent, as they did not provide a safe work environment. The area had been known to the company as “a party place” for years; Amtrak did not repair a fence or put up lighting to reduce trespassing.

According to the Sacramento Bee, “Along with the beating, the panel also held Amtrak liable for an incident in 2010, after Keating had returned to work, when someone in West Sacramento flashed a laser pointer into his engine compartment. Keating testified that he thought he was about to be shot and that the laser flash ignited a new round of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Jurors assigned 6% of the blame to Keating, and 94% to Amtrak.

From the Sacramento Bee

Austria: Pre-teen has "massive" damage from misusing laser pointer

From Agence-France Presse:

A 12-year-old Austrian boy has suffered "massive and lasting" damage to his eyes after playing with a laser pointer, with his vision reduced by 60 percent, doctors said.

"We think that he was playing with a mirror and that the rays were reflected," said Yosuf El-Shabrawi, chief doctor at the Klagenfurt am Wörthersee clinic in Carinthia, southern Austria.

"His injuries cannot be treated. We can only hope that the worst of the injuries heal themselves and that his condition improves," El-Shabrawi said in a statement on Tuesday.

The boy's father bought the laser pointer on the Internet where it was advertised as a toy for playing with cats.

After a week the boy, named as Lukas, complained of a constant black mark in his field of vision.

The laser pointer in question was labelled as "Class 2" with an output under the European Union legal limit, but it lacked a so-called EN standardisation certificate, El-Shabrawi said.

AFP story on The Local, the Rakyat Post, iAfrica.com, and other news sources

US: Voters briefly turned away from polls, due to laser pointer "weapon"

Voters in Donna, Texas were briefly turned away from a polling site at a school, after a student reported finding a “weapon”, on November 4 2014.

For about 25 minutes, the polls were closed while the “weapon” was located and was determined to be a laser pointer.

The incident occurred at the W.A. Todd Ninth Grade Campus.

From ValleyCentral.com

US: Two more laser pointer incidents at U.S. football games

In the week after widespread publicity when a laser was aimed at NFL Buffalo Bills players on Sunday October 5 2014, two other U.S. football-related incidents made the news. It is not known if these incidents were copycats, or were unrelated but were judged more newsworthy in the aftermath of the NFL case.

Hawaii college game interrupted by laser pointer


On Saturday October 11 2014, a football game between the University of Hawaii and the University of Wyoming was interrupted in the fourth quarter. A green laser light had been spotted on the field near Wyoming’s quarterback.

The referee stopped the game announced over the public address speakers, “There's a member of the stadium that has a laser pointer that continues to shine in the eyes of the offensive players. We're currently seeking game management and security to resolve that situation." The person was not found.

University of Hawaii officials said they believe the laser was more powerful than classroom pointers, which legally are limited to 5 milliwatts.

Under Hawaii Revised Statues, Chapter 136, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to possess a laser pointer. Shining a laser at a person can lead to up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

University of Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay was asked by KHON if he knew of any previous laser pointer incident. Jay told the TV station, “To my knowledge ... it really hasn’t happened at a college football game in recent memory that I can recall. But I think the spate of some of the recent NFL games that have been affected by lasers probably prompted this person to do such a really idiotic act.”

There may have been another laser pointer at the game, as well. A person in the press box told KHON he saw a red light “dancing for about two seconds or so .... which means there were probably at least two laser pointers used at game time.”

A spokesperson for the Mountain West athletic conference said he was not aware of any other laser incidents at Mountain West venues. The 12-college conference oversees intercollegiate sports including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. He told KITV, “We have already communicated with all appropriate parties within the Conference to take whatever measures necessary to address and eliminate the use of laser pointers.”

Aloha Stadium officials said they would step up bag checks but that finding laser pointers on entering fans would be difficult.

From KHON2.com (story 1 and follow-up story 2) and KITV.com

Michigan high school game delayed due to laser pointer


On Friday October 10 2014, a football game between Walled Lake Western high school and Walled Lake Central high school was delayed for more than 10 minutes in the second quarter. A laser pointer was used to distract Walled Lake Western players during the game. According to MLive.com, “Play was stopped for an extended period of time as officials, police officers and other members of the school's security staff gathered to discuss the matter and attempt to put a stop to it. The culprit was not located, though no further issues arose involving a laser pointer.”

Walled Lake, Michigan is about 26 miles northwest of Detroit’s Ford Field, where the October 5 2014 laser pointer incident occurred during an NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills. Walled Lake is also 6 miles southwest of West Bloomfield Township, where Mark (or Marko) Beslach lives; he is the Detroit fan identified by ESPN and ABC News as the person who used the laser during the NFL game and was subsequently banned indefinitely from Ford Field.

Map of Detroit area
Map showing Walled Lake, West Bloomfield Township, and Detroit in relation to each other


From MLive.com

US: Father of teen banned for NFL lasering asks police protection from opposing team's fans

The father of the teenager who aimed a laser at Buffalo Bills players during an October 5 2014 NFL football game has asked for police protection from harassing Bills fans, reports Michigan news source MLive.com.

According to reporter Eric Lacy, the father asked for help from police in West Bloomfield, a township in the Detroit metropolitan area, on October 10, one day after the Detroit Lions confirmed they had located the youth.

The name of the 17-year-old laser perpetrator was reported by ESPN, ABC News and other sources to be Mark (or Marko) Beslach of West Bloomfield. Before the October 5 NFL match in Detroit, a tweet from “@MarkoBeslach” said he was going to put a green light on Buffalo Bills players. After the game, a follow-up tweet said he “got Kyle Orton”, the Bills’ quarterback. The Twitter account was deleted later that day, but a screenshot of the two tweets was widely circulated on the Internet. According to Detroit Lions officials, the laser perpetrator was caught in part because of social media postings.

The Lions banned the youth from Ford Field “indefinitely”, and he was charged with disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor requiring payment of a small fine). The Lions also revoked the season tickets of the person who provided tickets to the perpetrator and had a “close relationship” with him, according to an earlier ESPN report.

The nature of the Bills fans’ harassment was not known. Calls by MLive.com to the family phone were not answered. MLive.com filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the West Bloomfield police department to get more information about the request for police assistance.

From MLive.com. Thanks to Dan Goldsmith for bringing this to our attention. LaserPointerSafety.com has additional stories about the original October 5 2014 incident, and the October 9 announcement by the Detroit Lions that they had found and punished the laser offender.

US: UPDATED - NFL fan banned from Detroit games, faces charge for aiming laser at football players

The NFL football fan who shined a green laser pointer beam at two players on October 5 2014, has been “banned indefinitely from attending all future events at Ford Field,” according to an October 9 press release from the Detroit Lions football team.

In addition, the person was charged with disorderly conduct by the Detroit City Prosecutor’s Office. This is a misdemeanor and would require payment of a small fine ($50, according to WSJM.com).

Finally, the Ford Field season ticket holder whose tickets were used by the laser-wielding person has had his tickets revoked for the remainder of the 2014 football season (e.g., five regular season home games).

In the October 9 press release, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand wrote “[T]his occurrence was unique in that it could have affected the integrity of the game and more importantly could have jeopardized player safety.”

The Lions’ statement did not name the individual. Detroit city attorney Melvin Hollowell identified the person as a 17-year-old from the Detroit-area township of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

ESPN reported that the person was “Mark Beslach”, ABC News reported he was “Marko Beslach, a recent high-school graduate.”

Marko Beslach ABC News laser pointer Lions Bills Orton
The person identified as Marko Beslach by ABC News on its program “World News Tonight”


In a statement to the press, Lewand was asked if the season-ticket holder was the youth’s father. Lewand declined to give specifics but did say there was a close relationship between the laser perpetrator and the ticket holder.

A person with the account “Marko Beslach” tweeted before and after the game on October 5, about having a laser pointer and having used it on Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton. The tweet was later deleted, but not before a screenshot was recorded.

Lewand said the tweets were part of how they found the perpetrator: “I certainly don’t think he did himself any favors by talking about it.”

The Lions said that stadium security and operations staffs worked with team security, NFL security, and Detroit Police to find and penalize the perpetrator.

The ban will be implemented, according to Lewand, using technologies such as paperless ticketing, camera monitoring systems and identification processes. If the ban was violated, the person would be prosecuted for trespassing.

Lewand also noted that ticket holders who sell their tickets are responsible for the behavior of the buyers. The sellers could lose their rights to tickets if the buyer causes problems.

Laser pointers are banned from all 32 NFL stadiums.

From the Detroit Lions press release, ESPN, ABC News, WSJM.com and FOX Sports. For details about the original incident, and the initial reports about the Marko Beslach tweets, see this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - October 10 2014: News source MLive.com reported that the father of the laser-wielding youth has asked for police protection due to harassment from Buffalo Bills fans. Details are in this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - June 29 2015: Marko Beslach in November 2014 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was fined $235, had to do 80 hours of community service, and was given a one-year suspended sentence. He will have his case reviewed November 23 2015. From the Detroit Free Press.

Switzerland: UEFA fines Serbian club for incidents against U.K. club, including laser pointers

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has penalized the Partizan team of Belgrade due to a number of fan-caused incidents during a September 18 2014 match with U.K.’s Tottenham Hotspur. These included: displaying an anti-Semitic banner, use of fireworks and a laser pointers, and a pitch invasion.

On October 6 2014, UEFA ordered Partizan to close one section of their stadium for their next home game on October 23. The club was also fined €40,000 (USD $50,340).

Partizan had previously issued a statement saying “We fully condemn perpetrators of this mindless act, not only of antisemitic nature, but one that represents hatred of Partizan and Serbia as well.”

From the Daily Mail and the Guardian

Australia: Lasers on rugby player in Argentina leads league to investigate

The SANZAR rugby organization said they will try to crack down on incidents of lasers being pointed at players.

The October 6 2014 statement came after Wallabies player Mike Harris had multiple red and green lasers aimed at him during a match in Argentina. He made seven of eight goals, missing one after he complained to the referee about laser harassment.

Wallabies laser Argentina
Screen capture shows a laser beam on Harris’ head during the match


Lasers were also aimed at Wallabies players during other games between the Australian and Argentine teams.

Harris seemed resigned to the situation, saying "I guess it is something a bit different and part and parcel of playing in Argentina. There's not much you can do so you've just got to move on.”

The Wallabies’ coach, Robbie Deans, also seemed to dismiss the laser louts: “Obviously, it [the use of lasers] was not ideal but it was not a major element and was resolved very quickly.”

SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters said the organization would investigate.

An unscientific poll of readers at the Green and Gold Rugby website, for Wallabies supporters asked about consequences of pointing lasers at players. The results after being up for about a day:

poll green and gold rugby laser


From the Courier-Mail and greenandgoldrugby.com. SANZAR stands for ‘South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby”

US: UPDATED - Laser aimed at NFL team quarterback, holder

Someone in the stands of an American football game aimed a laser pointer at players on October 5 2014.

The game was between the Buffalo Bills (visitors) and the Detroit Lions (home team). The laser pointer was aimed at Bills holder Colton Schmidt just before an unsuccessful 50-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter. Kicker Dan Carpenter was upset after the kick, talking to a referee until officials told him to return to the sideline. WIVB TV reported that the referee could be seen mouthing the words “No, I didn’t see it” to Carpenter.

In a post-game press conference, Bills coach Doug Marrone said the issue was resolved before the end of the game. He characterized the laser incident as less of a distraction and more of a motivator for Carpenter, who won the game with a successful 58-yard field goal with four seconds left to play.
Click to read more...

US: UPDATED - Utah man with laser pointer taped to fake gun is shot by police

A 32-year-old Utah man who brandished a homemade fake gun with a fake laser pointer “sight”, was shot July 10 2014 by a police officer. The man, Timothy James Peterson, survived and was charged with second-degree felony assault against a police officer, and misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon and failure to stop at the command of law enforcement.

On July 7, Peterson made a Facebook post where he threatened to kill police, and referenced being shot by police. Three days later, West Jordan police officer Ian Adams was patrolling a shopping center and saw Peterson, who ran. During the chase, Peterson turned and drew an object that looked like a handgun. Adams shot Peterson twice, once in the legs and once in the buttocks.

The object was found to be a piece of bent metal with a taped-on laser pointer.
Click to read more...

US: UPDATED: Laser said to cause serious eye injury at Burning Man 2014

A woman was blinded by a laser at the Burning Man art and technology festival, according to a September 5 2014 post by Richard W. DeVaul, head of Google’s Rapid Evaluation Team.

DeVaul’s colleague was working as a volunteer when she was struck in the left eye by a “high-power, hand-held green laser, most likely a 1W 532 nm toy from China”.

Burning Man took place August 25 through September 1, 2014, at Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. As of the September 5 post, DeVaul said the woman “still has not regained vision in her left eye and it is possible that she never will.”
Click to read more...

Scotland: Lasers aimed at climbers, rescuers on UK's highest mountain

The leader of the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team was on an after-dark rescue early in September 2014, when “quite a powerful laser” was aimed at them.

The team was on Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the U.K. They were wearing head torches, so their light would be easy to see from lower altitudes.

Team leader John Stevenson estimated that the beam came from Glen Nevis, a couple of miles away. He told the Press and Journal that the green beam “could easily have caused someone to lose their balance causing them to fall and possibly injure themselves. Luckily it did not affect our rescue, but it goes without saying that it is an extremely dangerous thing to do.”

Stevenson said such lasings had happened before to his team, and also to another climber walking in the Ben Nevis area in mid-September.

From the Press and Journal

Norway: Children's show defies authorities, uses lasers in performance

A children’s show at Norway’s most frequently-visited attraction, Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park, illegally used lasers which swept over the audience. During the performance, an actor fitted with a “laser glove” flew on wires over the audience. On each hand, four laser pointers emitted green beams:

Kristiansand Zoo laser during performance

The zoo had previously applied to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) for approval to use the glove, and for exemption from labeling and classification requirements. The request was rejected.

However, the zoo went ahead with the production.

In a September 17 2014 story, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) quoted NRPA staffer, Sindre Øvergaard, who attended a performance in July 2014. He said it swept over the audience three times: “I and my partner got it right in the eye. We noticed there was a very bright light, and it hurt a little.”

Since he had been involved in the zoo’s original application to NRPA, Øvergaard told VG “that they [the zoo] took it to use is simply indefensible.”

The case was reported to the police. The zoo says a subcontractor told them the glove (shown below) was approved.

Kristiansand Zoo laser glove

From Verdens Gang. Google translation into English is here. Wikipedia is the source of the information about Kristiansand Zoo’s popularity. Thanks to Jan Ringen for bringing this to our attention.

US: 8th grader suspended for waving gun-shaped laser pointer

A 13-year-old Indiana boy was suspended for a week from his school, for waving a laser pointer in the school’s parking lot on September 11 2014. According to police, the pointer “could look like a gun.” (It is unknown if the pointer actually was gun-shaped like in the photo on this page, or if it was a different shape, such as the cylinder of a barrel, that could be mistaken for a gun, or part of a gun.)

A police spokesman said that laser pointers “are very dangerous in and of themselves, but anytime you have anything that looks like a firearm it’s obviously a danger and would be considered a credible threat.”

The boy obtained the laser pointer from a classmate, who was given a three day suspension.

A news story noted that it is illegal in Indiana to point a laser at a police officer, and recounted a previous incident when a student was arrested for shining a laser in the face of a school liaison officer.

From NWI.com

China: South Korea regrets laser pointer aimed at Chinese Premier by SK athlete

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had a laser pointer shined on his face during the August 28 2014 closing ceremony of the Youth Olympics in Nanjing. A South Korean athlete was blamed for the incident, which occurred as Li was waving to the crowd and was taking his seat in front of 60,000 spectators.


China premier laser pointer on face
“Internet photo” from Want China Times showing Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, with green laser light on his face.


The South Korean embassy in Beijing issued a statement saying “It’s extremely improper and regrettable to shine a laser pointer on state leader. This should not have happened.”

According to the statement, the embassy was investigating in order to “confirm facts.”

Click to read more...

UK: Laser light forces motorist to stop; police looking for perpetrator

Police are looking for the person who aimed a bright green laser at motorists in the Devon-area seaside resort town of Torquay, between about 9:00 and 9:05 pm on September 1 2014.

According to police, “We are investigating an incident of causing danger to road users under the Road Traffic Act. A motorist was going around the roundabout near the Pavilion and a green laser light was shone directly in his eyes, causing him to stop his vehicle. We are appealing to the public. Were you around at that time? Did you see the incident? Were you subject to someone shining a laser light on you?”

From the Herald Express

World: UPDATED - Laser pointer may have affected World Cup goal; Algerian team fined USD $56,170

A Russian goalie, playing in a June 26 2014 World Cup match, had a laser pointer aimed on his face just before Algeria scored a game-tying goal that eliminated Russia from the competition.

Russian team manager Fabio Capello blamed the defeat on biased officiating and on the laser incident: “Our goalkeeper was affected by a laser 10 seconds before the goal. He was blinded by a laser, there are photos, films of it.... You can see that in the footage. This not an excuse, it is a fact. There was a laser. I have never come up with excuses to get by in my entire life.”

Russia Algeria laser pointer World Cup 01

Russia Algeria laser pointer World Cup 02
Two views of the laser on Russian goalie Igor Akinfeev.


In the 60th minute, after play had stopped for a free kick, a laser beam was repeatedly flashed in goalie Igor Akinfeev’s face. He stood up, and yelled and motioned at the referees to get them to try to stop the laser, as shown in the GIF animation below.

Russia Algeria laser pointer World Cup anim

Then, as play resumed, Akinfeev was again hit near his eye. He appeared to misjudge the ball’s flight, leaving the goal exposed:

Russia Algeria laser pointer World Cup anim 02


According to The Verge, “It’s difficult to tell quite how much Akinfeev was affected by the beam — the Russian doesn't blink or wince as it rakes across his face.”

The game took place at the Arena de Baixada, in Curitiba, Brazil. The final 1-1 score was not unexpected. For example, a preview published prior to the game by SportsKeeda foretold the 1-1 outcome: “Given that Algeria only need a draw to go through, they might not go out and attack in the second half, if the game is in the balance. Russia on the other hand, need to, but their misfiring attack is unlikely to score too many past Algeria. So expect a draw with Algeria going through and Russia going home. Predicted Scoreline: Algeria 1 – 1 Russia.”

FIFA, the world football governing body, in its publication Stadium Safety and Security Regulations recommends a ban on “Any item that could distract the players and/or officials, including laser pointers...” It is not known if the Arena de Baixada had such a ban in place or was actively searching all entrants for laser pointers.

From Fansided.com, Yahoo Sports, the Daily Mail, The Verge, SportsKeeda, and Larry Brown Sports.

UPDATED June 30 2014: The Algerian Football Union was fined 50,000 swiss francs (about USD $56,170) by FIFA, which has the power to fine clubs for their fans’ behavior. From the Voice of Russia.

US: Florida man buys laser pointer; arrested hours later for aiming at motorists, officer

A Florida man was arrested for aiming a green laser pointer at motorists -- and eventually at a Daytona Beach Shores officer -- at about 12:30 am on June 16 2014. When told he had committed a felony, the man apologized to the officer, who accepted the apology. Nonetheless, Walter Nevarez, 22, of Lakeland, was charged with pointing a laser light at a driver or pilot.

Pic 2014-08-18 at 4.21.48 PM
Walter Nevarez


Nevarez had purchased the laser earlier in the evening. Riding as a passenger in his girlfriend’s car, he began aiming the laser at oncoming cars, including the officer’s car.

After later told a reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he did not know it was illegal to misuse a laser pointer. He said he had been pointing it at a treeline and did not intend it to shine it at anyone’s eyes.

A defense attorney quoted by the newspaper said “If you are going to criminalize the conduct or behavior, then the government needs to explain and make the public aware why their action poses a potential danger.”

From the Daytona Beach News-Journal

Canada: Concern over driver distraction from laser pointers

On the heels of publicity over laser pointer interference with aircrews, a former worker in Alberta law enforcement warned about hazards to drivers as well.

Justin Crocker said he dealt with complaints from drivers in Alberta who were distracted by people in other vehicles misusing laser pointers. “I don’t think the should be in the general public,” he said. “It’s pretty distracting and it can almost cause an accident.”

According to Crocker, some of the vehicle lasing complaints led to criminal charges being filed.

From The Telegram

US: Laser pointer on home; Tulsa woman investigates and is shot

A woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma was shot in her leg after investigating a laser pointer being aimed onto her house. She went to a hospital, was found to be in fair condition, and was released after a few hours.

On May 22 2014, at about 10:30 pm, 50-year-old Dawn Adams went out her back door to investigate the laser light on her home. She asked the person to stop because the laser dot was upsetting the family dogs. They heard gunshots and thought the person might have shot the dogs. Adams and her son Philip Klimcak, 23, went outside and saw a person dressed in dark clothes who started walking the length of the house, “spraying bullets the whole way.” (Neighbors reported hearing about six shots; a reporter later found almost a dozen holes in the house.)

Klimcak pushed his mother back to protect her. A bullet went through the home structure and into Adams’ leg.

Dawn Adams Philip Klimcak Tulsa laser pointer home
Philip Klimcak, in dark clothing, speaks with KTUL reporter Caitlin Alexander outside his mother’s home.


Police believe the weapon was a pistol. They are looking for a suspect, but do not have a good description. Klimcak said it may have been a gang initiation.

There was no immediate information regarding whether the laser was on the pistol or was a separate stand-alone device.

From KTUL.com, Tulsa World, and KJRH.com

US: High school report of handgun turns out to be a laser pointer

Police officers responded to a call at a Kansas City, Kansas school on May 8 2014. A person with a handgun and laser sight had been reported at Wyandotte High School. Surveillance video, however, showed that the “suspect” had a laser pointer and not a gun.

From the Kansas City Star

Australia: MP apologizes for shining laser pointer on colleague

A Member of Parliament apologized to his colleague after shining a red laser pointer on his forehead while they were sitting in a Western Australia Legislative Council meeting in Perth, on May 8 2014.

The president of the Council stopped the proceedings when he noticed the red dot on Liberal MP Bernie Finn, and said “It is extraordinary and a matter of concern to have that sort of device aimed at a member and it wasn’t just once, it was on his forehead a couple of times. You’re actually very lucky in this circumstance that I don’t send you out of the house because I regard it as that serious.”

Labor MP Adem Somyurek apologized to Finn, saying he had collected the pen from an exhibition inside Parliament and had been playing with it in the Council. “I shouldn’t have done that, I consider Mr Finn a friend,” said Somyurek.

From Perth Now

Romania: Report of eye injury from Class 4 laser

LaserPointerSafety.com has received a report of an eye injury caused by a green (532nm) Class 4 laser of approximately 1 watt output.

The injured person is from Romania. He was hit in the left eye for 1 second or less from a distance of about 2 feet (~60 cm). He saw a dot in the center of his left eye and could not read properly with that eye. He went to an eye doctor who said there was a small retinal burn. After four days he said the vision improved a bit. He was scheduled for a follow-up exam one month after the injury date.

He asked LaserPointerSafety.com about any possible outcome and treatment. Experts we consulted said his symptoms and vision will probably improve. They suggested a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or indomethcin. More aggressive treatment such as steroids (orally or injected into the eye) have been done with “often good” results. The side effects of steroids should be considered. They also indicated that the follow-up examination is important.

The laser was marked “<3000mW”, “Wavelength 532nm +/-10” and “Class IIIb Laser Product”. The label is incorrect, since Class IIIb is between 5 and 500 mW. A laser that is in the thousands of milliwatts would be Class 4.

The laser appears to be a “JD-303” from China; a link is here. The cost is US $5-7 per laser in a minimum order of 30 pieces. (They can supply up to 20,000 lasers per week.) It has a nominal power of 1 watt. The Alibaba web site does say “This is not a toy for your children, this is a high intensity laser pointer for adults only!”

Pic 2014-04-02 at 11.26.09 AM
Excerpt from the webpage for the laser believed to have caused the injury


Thanks to Leon McLin and Bruce Stuck for their assistance in this case.

Romania: Lionel Messi targeted with laser at soccer match

Football (US: soccer) superstar Lionel Messi was targeted by a green laser pointer during a match between Argentina and Romania taking place at the National Arena in Bucharest. A Daily Mail newspaper story mentioning the incident did not indicate whether the light entered Messi's eye or otherwise interfered with his play.

Messi laser soccer
Messi is lit up by a laser near his face


From the Daily Mail

US: Man arrested for aiming laser at drivers

A 21-year-old was arrested February 26 2014 for aiming a green laser into cars the night before. The incidents occurred in Newton, Massachusetts.

The unnamed man was charged with disorderly conduct and with assault and battery. Although there were also two reports of a green laser being aimed from the Newton area at aircraft, the man was not charged or associated directly with those incidents.

A hearing is scheduled for March 25 in Newton District Court.

From the Boston Globe

UK: Journal report of 5 children injured by laser pens

A report published online January 17 2014 in Eye, the journal of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, discusses five case reports of children injured by laser pointers and “toys” in the Sheffield, South Yorkshire area.

According to the abstract, “Clinically, three children had an acute vitelliform-like maculopathy which resolved to leave sub-foveal retinal pigment epithelium changes with reduced vision. One case was complicated by a choroidal neovascular membrane.”

  • Case 1 was of a nine-year-old boy who on December 22 2013 was tested with normal vision of 6/5 (U.S. 20/17 -- better than 20/20) but on December 26 complained of vision loss and was found to have 6/12 (20/40) in the left eye and 6/15 (20/50) in the right eye. The family said he was given a laser pointer as a “toy” and had been playing with it on Christmas Day. The child denied looking directly into the laser beam. The family had three laser pens: a 57 mW blue 405nm, a 42 mW green 532 nm, and a 72 mW red 650nm. All exceeded the British Standard of 5 mW for a Class 3R laser. The boy was prescribed steroids. Nine months after the initial complaint, the best corrected vision was 6/9.5 (20/32), and optical coherence tomography showed persistent outer retinal layer disruption at the fovea. [The boy was later identified in press coverage as William Jackson, from Wadsley. Details are at The Star.]

  • Case 2 was of an 11-year-old boy. He had decreased vision in both eyes of 6/7.5 (20/25). Eight weeks later he had sub-foveal retinal pigment epithelium changes. His vision was 6/12 (20/40) in the right eye and 6/15 (20/50) in the left eye. He said that a friend had aimed a laser into both of his eyes before the decreased vision occurred. The doctors were not able to examine what they characterized as the laser “toy”.

  • Case 3 was of a 15-year-old girl. She aimed a laser pen into both eyes for 30 seconds. The next day she had scotomas (vision loss or spots) in both eyes. Her right eye was 6/7.5 (20/25) and her left eye was 6/6 (20/20). Upon examination, a vitelliform-like maculopathy (abnormality in the macula or central vision area) was seen. She did not return for follow-up visits.

  • Case 4 was of an 8-year-old boy who had reduced vision of 6/12 (20/40) in his right eye, and normal vision of 6/6 (20/20) in his left eye. The right fovea was seen to have retinal pigment epithelial changes “consistent with laser burns.” The boy admitted he had played with a laser pointer a few months before, but said he did not point it directly at his eye.

  • Case 5 was of a 13-year-old boy who had noticed declining vision in his right eye. It was found to be 6/36 (20/120); his left eye was 6/6 (20/20). He admitted aiming a laser pointer into his right eye. A fibrosed choroidal neovascular membrane was found at the right fovea.

The authors noted that “The retinal damage reported following such injuries is variable. This is due to variety of laser powers and wavelengths as well as ocular factors such as fundal pigmentation, blink responses, pupil size, and proximity of the laser burn to the fovea. Assessment of alleged laser eye injury requires accurate history and examination. Treatment for such laser retinal injuries is uncertain. Oral corticosteroids are sometimes administered.”

The authors stated that some laser devices are marketed as “toys”. They said they are aware of other children in the U.K. with retinal injuries from imported laser pointers. They conclude: “We suggest that children should not be given laser pointers as toys.”

From “‘Toy’ laser macular burns in children”, in Eye (2014) 1-4, by N. Raoof, TKJ Chan, NK Rogers, W Abdullah, I Haq, SP Kelly and FM Quhill. A downloadable PDF version is here. A story from the Bolton News gives some additional comments from author SP Kelly.

US: Maine man aims fake gun with laser pointer at cars; is arrested

A 22-year-old Maine man was arrested January 11 2014 for aiming a replica gun, which emits a laser beam from the barrel, at passing motorists including a police officer.

Replica gun laser pointer
The replica gun, emitting a red laser beam, used to harass motorists.


The officer was on patrol in Kittery, a seaside town at the southern tip of Maine, when he saw a red laser beam in his cruiser. He then saw the beam on other vehicles as well.

The officer pulled up behind the car of Seth Christman, and arrested him. Christman was charged with criminal use of a laser pointer under Maine Title 17-A Sec. 1002-A. The Class D misdemeanor prohibits intentionally pointing a laser beam at a police officer or a “reasonable person” for the purpose of intimidating and attempting to harm.

Christman’s next hearing in York District Court is set for March 5 2014.

From SeacoastOnline

US: Child suffers eye injuries from adult misusing high-powered blue laser

A 9-year-old boy was injured by an adult who directed a 1.25 watt handheld blue laser into his eyes. The boy’s vision was initially 20/126 in the right eye and 20/100 in the left. After a week, the left eye returned to 20/20 vision; after two months the right eye improved to 20/25.

The case was reported in JAMA Ophthalmalogy under the title “Ocular Safety of Recreational Lasers.” Authors Glenn Yiu, Sujit Itty and Cynthia Toth are with the Department of Ophthalmology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

They described the boy’s injuries as being caused by a Spyder III Pro Arctic “a class 4, high-powered 1250 mW laser that is manufactured from the 445 nm blue diode of a dismantled home theater projector and that is commercially available for online purchase from overseas.” This brand of laser is manufactured by the company Wicked Lasers; an 800 mW version was reviewed here.

In the case they described, “the adult directed the laser at the child’s eyes in jest, unaware of the harmful consequences.”

Pic 2014-01-10 at 12.04.02 AM
A copy of the safety label that appears on a Wicked Laser Spyder III Pro Arctic, containing the IEC and U.S. FDA-mandated wording for a Class 4 laser: “Avoid eye or skin exposure to direct or scattered radiation”


According to the authors, “imaging studies suggest that the laser damage was limited to superficial retinal vessels with no involvement of the underlying retinal pigment epithelium or choroid. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a continuous wave laser in the visible spectrum–damaging retinal vessels without affecting the retinal pigment epithelium, the site where damage from visible lasers typically occurs.”

They speculate that this may be caused by greater absorption of shorter wavelength lasers by hemoglobin, or a defocusing of the laser due to chromatic aberration and myopia in a child.

The authors conclude that “with the expanding use of lasers in nonoccupational or recreational settings, escalation of laser safety awareness and consumer laser regulations is paramount to prevent future ocular laser injuries.”

From JAMA Ophthalmology, published online January 09, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.5647. Thanks to Dr. David Hunter for bringing this to our attention.

US: UPDATED - NY state homeland security head uses laser gunsight as pointer in presentation

New York state’s director of homeland security, Jerome M. Hauer, reportedly used the laser sight on his handgun as a laser pointer, during an October 24 2013 presentation in Albany to a foreign delegation.

The Albany Times-Union reported on January 6 2014 that “...three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun's laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point.” Two persons “...moved quickly out of the line of the laser when he brought out the gun.”

There were no reported injuries from the incident.

Hauer has not denied the incident, although New York state press officials have not provided any additional explanation or details.

The Times-Union said Hauer had a stroke and “can be unsteady”. The laser was mounted on a loaded 9-millimeter Glock that he carries into state buildings, “... an apparent violation of state law barring state employees from bringing weapons into the workplace.”

Hauer is commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. He was director of the New York City Office of Emergency Management from 1996 to 2000, and was Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness within the Department of Health and Human Services from 2002 to 2004. He is approximately 61 years old as of January 2014.

From the Albany Times-Union and the Wikipedia article on Jerome Hauer

UPDATED January 7 2014, 1:45 pm: Hauer told the New York Post that the weapon was empty and was used because there were no laser pointers nearby: “In the end, I used the laser gun. Was it the smartest thing in the world do [sic]? Absolutely not.... No one in the room was rattled. The gun was never aimed at anyone. I would never point an empty firearm at anyone, let alone a loaded gun. I was pointing directly at the wall. The gun was never aimed at anyone.”

US: Calif. train crew reports laser pointer

A train crew reported that a laser pointer was aimed at the head of a train in Martinez, California, a town about 23 miles northeast of San Francisco. The incident happened about 1:15 am on December 27 2013. Police did not find the perpetrators.

From the Martinez (Ca.) News-Gazette

US: Man targets soccer player with laser; injures policeman during arrest

A 20-year-old man used a green laser pointer to harass persons playing soccer indoors in Naperville, Illinois, on December 22 2013. When confronted by an officer, Raul Marquez resisted arrest and injured the officer’s shoulder.

According to police, Marquez was causing a disturbance by shining a green laser in the eyes of persons at Players Indoor Sports Center. He was not on either team and police do not know why he was at the game. No injuries were reported by any of the targeted soccer players.

Marquez, a convicted burglar, was charged with felony resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury and two counts of disorderly conduct/breach of peace.

From the Naperville Sun

UK: Football fan arrested after aiming laser at Chelsea manager

An unnamed man was reportedly arrested in West London for aiming a green laser pen at Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, and Chelsea players, during a December 11 2013 Champions League match with Steaua Bucharest.

The game was held in Chelsea’s home stadium at Stamford Bridge. The laser appeared to come from the “away” end of the stadium. An announcement was made, in English and Romanian, warning the fans to stop using the laser.

Ashley Cole laser
Chelsea player Ashley Cole has laser light aimed onto his face


The manager told reporters the laser did not unduly affect him: “I can’t worry about that during the game. I don’t know if it can create problems or not. But during the game I felt it a couple of times. I felt the green, I felt no pain.”

Chelsea went on to win the match 1-0.

From SuperSport, the London Evening Standard and VitalFootball.co.uk

US: Referee stops ACC championship football game due to laser pointer on quarterback

The Atlantic Coast Conference college football championship game on December 7 2013 was stopped briefly after a green laser pointer was aimed at the helmet of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

The light, coming from the player’s left side, briefly hit his eye area. It probably did not enter his pupil due to the side angle. Here is an image captured from video.

Jameis Winston Florida quarterback laser pointer football 01

The laser was aimed primarily at his helmet:

Jameis Winston Florida quarterback laser pointer football 02

The referee stopped the game, announcing over the public address system “There is a laser being pointed on the field from the stands. It needs to be stopped with security please. Take a look at section 343.”

From CollegeSpun.com

Spain: Woman permanently injured by laser pointer bought in Shanghai

A 37-year-old Spanish woman lost 60% of her vision in one eye after playing with a laser pointer, according to an ophthalmologist from the Barraquer Clinic in Barcelona. She did not realize she had been injured until her vision deteriorated the next day.

The injury to her fovea is permanent. In a machine-translated statement, she said “All fuzzy horrors bothers me the light. I sense what I see on the screen, but I can not really read and, of course, I dare not drive.”

The clinic says this is the first case it has seen of permanent retinal damage by a laser pointer.

The woman’s husband purchased three lasers in a tourist area of Shanghai, for €30 (USD $40). One emitted a red beam, one a blue beam and one a green beam. The spower was said to be between 500 and 6,000 milliwatts (1/2 to 6 watts). There were no user warnings on the laser.

The clinic believes the laser was not aimed directly in the eye, but was probably reflected off an object. While the article and machine-translation are not clear, it is possible that one or more of the lasers used a diffraction grating to create multiple “stars”. The article discusses lasers that “allow decorative figures with the laser on the surface” and then quotes the victim as saying “Ours were beautiful: creating colorful stars in the sky.”

From LaVanguardia.com. Original article in Spanish here; Google machine translation into English here. Thanks to Jose-Maria Silvestre on the LinkedIn Laser Safety Professionals group for bringing this to our attention.

China: Man detained 5 days for aiming laser pointer at football fans, players and referees

A football fan repeatedly aimed a laser pointer, smuggled into Jinan Olympic Stadium, in the eyes of the opposing team’s fans and players, plus referees, during an October 30 2013 Chinese Super League game between Shandong Luneng and Beijing Guoan.

The man was caught by police, who said he would be held in custody five days.

From the Business Standard

Japan: Teen injured by LED pen "toy" held 40 seconds in his eye

NOTE: The injury described herein was NOT caused by a laser but by a light-emitting diode (LED). We are including it here because the measured power of 5 mW is similar to laser pointers, and because in mid-2013 the FDA proposed to regulate toys containing lasers. This case of an LED-caused injury may stimulate arguments on both sides. Additional discussion is in blue at the end of this story.

A December 2006 incident has come to our attention. A 15-year-old Japanese boy suffered a retinal injury and visual loss after deliberately looking into a 5 mW violet (410 nm) light emitting diode for a total of about 40 seconds. The LED was in a pen was sold as a toy called “Secret Pen”. The toy appears to consist of an LED light which can excite ink that is invisible under ordinary light but which fluoresces under ultraviolet and near-UV light. The 410 nm wavelength caused photochemical damage to the retina.

According to a 2011 paper in Retinal Cases & Brief Reports, the LED was aimed into the teen’s eye from a distance of about 1 cm. It was held there for about 20 seconds as he deliberately stared into the light. This exposure was repeated the next day. About two weeks later, decreased vision (20/50 on the Snellen scale) was noted in the right eye.
Click to read more...

Australia & Argentina: Rugby player tries to tune out laser distractions

A Canberra Times article discusses how Quantas Wallabies goalkicker Christian Lealiifano tries to tune out lasers aimed at or near him by opposing fans during rugby union matches.

The October 2 2013 article references an incident the previous week, where a New Zealand All Blacks player was given a second chance at a kick after being distracted by a laser pointer aimed by Argentine fans. According to the story, “the controversial practice [is] now associated almost exclusively with Argentine crowds.”

Lealiifano said “I don't really worry about it too much. I guess you have to try and block it out visually. I have a certain target on the ball that I look at and concentrate on the most, because that's my target area and striking zone. If the laser is around that area it might distract me, but if I stay focused on that, hopefully nothing else goes wrong.”

From the Canberra Times

US: College football player threatens officer with laser pointer; is arrested and suspended

Braxton Lane, a defensive back for the University of Cincinnati, was arrested September 29 2013 for threatening a police offer with a laser pointer.

At 5:00 am, police responded to a call at a house near the university. Lane, 22, got into a verbal dispute with an officer. He said he would shoot an officer and then aimed a laser pointer from a second-story window at the officer, who felt threatened by potential physical harm. The officer called for backup.

Pic 2013-09-30 at 6.29.04 PM

Lane was arrested, and the next day was released on $15,000 bond. A hearing on the charges of menacing and inducing panic was set for October 11. Lane, who had not yet played in any UC football games, was also suspended from the team indefinitely.

From WLWT.com and Fox19

Germany: Two teens attacked with laser pointer at school; eye damage noted

Two teenage students had a laser pointer’s beam deliberately and repeatedly aimed into their eyes while at school in Freudenstädt on September 23 2013. They both noticed vision problems and were examined by an eye doctor. One student had deteriorated visual acuity. The impact on the other student was not known and will be clarified by future studies.

The laser pointer had no markings so the power is unknown. This also will be studied so the strength of the beam is known.

According to police, the laser pointer attack was a dangerous assault. If there is also significant permanent damage to eyesight, a charge of aggravated assault may be considered.

From Schwarzwaelder-bote.de (original German version and Google machine translation into English)

US: "Criminal mischief" for Ohio man who aimed laser at neighbor's surveillance camera

A man in Barberton, Ohio was issued a court summons for criminal mischief on September 3 2013, for using a laser to damage a neighbor’s surveillance camera. On August 19 2013, the motion sensor on the camera was disabled by a laser beam that was pointed at it. On August 22, the neighbor showed police a video from the surveillance camera, identifying a suspect. Police talked with him and the man admitted aiming the laser at the camera. The case will be heard in Barberton Municipal Court.

From Ohio.com

Switzerland: 11 injured by lasers, including 3 policemen, at famed Zurich Street Parade

Eleven eye injuries due to lasers were reported during the August 10-11 2013 Street Parade in Zurich, which attracted 950,000 revelers.

Three policemen were among those reporting injuries. Two of the policemen were examined due to acute symptoms.

According to a spokesperson, this is the first time that laser “weapons” have been used in the Street Parade.

Partially as a result, within a few days a Swiss police association called for classification of higher-powered laser pointers as weapons.
Click to read more...

US: Coast Guard patrol boat hit by "blue, green laser" in Clearwater

From a U.S. Coast Guard press release dated August 11 2013:

Coast Guard boatcrew targeted with laser near Clearwater, Fla.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Sand Key was targeted with a laser from the shore approximately one mile southwest of Clearwater, Sunday [August 11 2013].

The station informed the station's watchstanders at 10:18 p.m., reporting the 25-foot Response Boat — Small boat crew experienced a three to four second blue, green laser burst while on patrol in the area. The entire crew experienced loss of night vision and half the crew received a direct hit from the laser.

The boat crew had to return to the station and receive eye exams.

Click to read more...

US: Angry teen aims laser at car, causing eye pain and flashblindness

A 19-year-old man was arrested August 2 2013 after he aimed a laser pointer at a car with five occupants, causing eye pain to one passenger and causing another to be temporarily blinded.

Trenton Demoor was angry because a coffee shop in Parkland, Washington refused him service at the drive-through window, because Demoor was on foot. He began screaming at employees. He then aimed a laser pointer at the car when the driver asked what the argument was about. Demoor yelled “You guys want to get shot?”, and then lased two of the passengers.

He was arrested on five counts of illegally discharging a laser and possession of methamphetamines. Bail was set at $30,000.

Switzerland: Train driver hit by laser beam, replaced; attacks increasingly common

The driver of an SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen) intercity train traveling from Geneva to St. Gallen was flashed by a laser pointer in Thurgau. The train was stopped in Wil, St. Gallen, where passengers were told the engineer had been hit by a laser. A replacement engineer was brought in after a prolonged stoppage, to continue the journey.

An SBB spokesperson says in the past two years, laser attacks have been mounting. A spokesperson for St. Gallen police said such attacks also occur on helicopter pilots, and air rescue units have been equipped with laser eye protection goggles.

From 20 Minuten (original German text and Google-translated English text)

US: Motocross rider's brother said to aim laser pointer at rivals during race

A professional motocross organization issued fines totaling $15,500 plus additional penalties after the brother of competitor Mike Alessi was accused of aiming a green laser pointer into the eyes of his brother’s rivals just before a race began. The incident occurred July 20 2013 during the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, held in Washington state.

A video from the helmet cam of one of the targeted racers shows green flashes on his front visor, just before the starting gate drops. In addition, a photo taken at the same time shows a green glow above a distant spectator’s shoulder (circled in yellow below).

Pic 2013-07-31 at 5.52.25 PM

After the race, riders complained to MX Sports, the event organizer. Race personnel went through the crowd and soon found a retired pro racer with a green laser pointer in his hand.

Jeff Alessi initially denied the laser attack and tried to blame his girlfriend. A race official confiscated the laser and Alessi’s credentials which turned out to belong to his father. Later, an argument ensued which was captured on video, between Alessi and his father, and a journalist.

On July 22, MX Sports suspended Jeff Alessi’s eligibility and fined him $500. His father was suspended for the rest of the outdoor season. Alessi’s brother Mike, who competed in the disputed race, was fined $10,000 for the laser incident and $5,000 for transferring his father’s credentials to his brother.

The laser was described by MX Sports as “a powerful green laser pointer torch, capable of reaching considerable distance.”

Click to read more...

New Zealand: Store worker describes laser attack which caused stinging eyes, headache, dizziness

In a letter to the editor of the Taranaki (New Zealand) Daily News, a woman described the effects of laser light in her eyes. On July 20 2013, Therese Costello of Whalers Gate was in her store serving a customer when the passenger of a car outside, waiting at a light, aimed a laser beam at Costello. She said she “was left with stinging eyes, a very strong headache, [and] a constant state of dizziness for the next few hours.” She said she was still feeling the effects as she wrote the letter.

From Stuff.co.nz via Taranaki Daily News. The full text of the letter is below. Note: LaserPointerSafety.com is listing this incident as part of our coverage of non-aviation laser misuse; in this case, to give an idea of what it is like for someone to suffer a laser attack.
Click to read more...

Northern Ireland: Laser pens among items used to attack police during Belfast rioting

During a second day of rioting in Belfast, “officers were attacked by petrol bombs, fireworks, masonry, laser pens, and by a whole range of weapons and missiles”, according to a spokesperson for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. There were no serious injuries to the seven officers involved, and all remained on duty during the July 13 2013 unrest. 32 officers were injured the previous day; a Member of Parliament was taken to the hospital after being struck by a brick.

From the Irish Independent and the Guardian

UK: Bus driver treated at hospital after laser pen attack

A bus driver in South Shields, in the northeast of England, had a green laser pen aimed into his eyes by a youth standing with a group of teens by the roadside. The driver, temporarily dazzled, said it was like looking at a very bright lightbulb. According to police, “The driver’s vision is now improving after hospital treatment, however, this was a potentially dangerous situation and could have caused a crash.” The South Shields Police are investigating to find the perpetrator of the July 12 2013 attack.

From the Shields Gazette

Russia: Teen fatally stabbed for pointing laser at St. Petersburg man

A 17-year-old boarding school student was brutally stabbed to death by Vitaly Torsky, 38, after aiming a laser pointer directly at him. Torsky could receive up to 15 years in prison for the murder. It happened in early July 2013 on Leningrad Street, in the north of St. Petersburg.

From RIA Novosti

US: Teen awakened by burglar aiming laser gunsight at him

A 19-year-old youth was awakened in his Sandy Springs, Georgia, home by a burglar. On June 20 2013, the teen saw a red dot from a laser gunsight, a few feet away. The burglar shouted at him to go back to his room. A Sandy Springs police spokesperson said “From what he [the teen] said that laser pointer or that laser on the gun was pointing at him on the wall.”

No shots were fired. The burglar left with thousands of dollars in jewelry, driving away with an accomplice. Police are searching for the suspect.

From Fox30Jax.com

Iceland: Teen injures both eyes playing with 90 mW laser pointer

A 13-year-old Icelandic boy was “seriously” injured in both eyes after playing with a 90 milliwatt laser pointer purchased outside the country. He was said to have lost central vision in one eye.

The teen was treated at Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik. The head physician at the Department of Ophthalmology says the hospital has never seen such a severe case of laser pointer injury.
Click to read more...

Australia: Lasers aimed at drivers; perpetrators warned

Green laser beams, thought to be from one or more youths, were aimed at truck drivers and at police following up on telephoned reports, in Boambee East, New South Wales on May 4 2013. The incidents occurred around 10:30 pm. Police warned that perpetrators could face a fine of up to AUS $5000 if they have lasers above 1 milliwatt in public without a valid reason.

From the Coffs Coast Advocate

US: Ohio 7th grader may be expelled for gun-shaped laser pointer

A 7th grade student in Huber Heights, Ohio was arrested April 23 2013 for bringing a laser pointer shaped like a realistic gun to Weisenborn Middle School. The unnamed 12- or 13-year-old boy pointed the “laser gun” at two other students who became frightened and told the principle. Police arrested the boy; he faces criminal charges in juvenile court. He also may be expelled due to violating the school district’s policies about weapons or look-alikes.

gun-shaped laser pointer
An example of a gun-shaped laser pointer. This particular unit emits a 100 mW beam and costs USD $68. An Internet search turns up a wide variety of gun-shaped novelty and toy laser pointers, including some that also have a lighter built in, and a gag pointer that shocks the user when they pull the trigger.


From WDTN.com

US: Man buys pointer at Dallas Walmart, immediately aims at officer and is arrested

The Dallas Observer blog relates a story of a man who purchased a red laser pointer at a Dallas area Walmart, and immediately aimed it at a uniformed Dallas police officer. The officer had “temporary blindness” according to the story. The man, identified only as “Mr. Evans” was arrested and given a ticket with a fine of up to $500. The incident occurred at 3:45 am on April 11 2013.

From the Dallas Observer. As of April 12 2013, LaserPointerSafety.com has not been able to find any other source for this story, including news articles and the Dallas Police Department website.

US: Man arrested for lasing a driver who suffers blurry vision

A driver had a laser beam aimed into his car about a dozen times, coming from another car. The beam hit the first driver’s inside rearview mirror and went into his right eye.

He contacted police, who were able to catch up with him and the other car. The first driver said he had blurry vision in his right eye and was going to follow up with his eye doctor.

The driver of the other car, Michael R. Fierke, 26, was found to have a “small package for a laser” on the front seat. Fierke was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

The incident occurred April 9 2013 in Downers Grove, Illinois, a village 22 miles west of Chicago.

From the Downers Grove Patch

Canada: B.C. driver said to have possible eye damage from green laser

A woman driving in the left lane on Highway 1 in Abbotsford, B.C., reported that she was passed on the right side by a grayish Audi. The Audi pulled in front of her and a male passenger stood up through the sunroof, spat on the workman’s windshield, then sat down and aimed a green laser through the back window at the woman. The Audi then sped off.

The RCMP said the woman may have suffered unspecified eye damage in the February 27 2013 assault. They asked for the public’s assistance in finding the female driver and male passenger of the Audi.

From The Province

US: UPDATED - St. Louis teen given probation for Aug 2012 lasing of baseball players

A 17-year-old who aimed a laser at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball player and manager in an August 6 2012 incident, pleaded guilty on December 14 to disturbing the peace at an athletic event. As part of a plea agreement announced January 4 2013, Eric Bogard was sentenced to six months probation, 20 hours of community service, and paying $500 restitution to the Cardinals. If he remains on good behavior, his arrest record will be expunged; otherwise he would have a permanent record and could be jailed.

The plea agreement dropped a second charge of using a laser beam to harass or annoy another person. He could have been fined up to $500 and been jailed for between 30 and 90 days (sources differ as to the maximum sentence for this offense).

Bogard’s lawyer said his client made “an extreme error in judgement”. He also said that Bogard was not the person “who actually did most of the harassing [and] disturbing the peace.”

A St. Louis official said the plea agreement had been cleared with the baseball Cardinals.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Additional information is at LaserPointerSafety.com’s original story. It includes an August 17 update about the resignation of the person who controlled the stadium suite where the laser pointer misuse originated.

Egypt: Protesters shine laser pointers during civil unrest

During December 2012 protests in Cairo against Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi, laser pointers were used. A photo from Reuters shows at least two pointers in the crowd:

Egypt laser pointer protest

A France 24 reporter said “dozens” of demonstrators in a crowd of 10,000 were aiming lasers at windows in the presidential palace, as part of efforts to “make sure Morsi notices” the protesters.

According to Times Live, in one demonstration three persons were shot dead and 350 others were wounded. There were no reports of injuries due to the laser pointer attacks.

A separate report in Bikyamasr.com about November 2011 demonstrations recounted accusations that Egyptian army snipers were aiming green lasers at Tahir Square demonstrators. The website confirmed that green lasers were present, but “as of [this] writing” could not confirm the snipers.

From Times Live, France 24, and Bikyamasr.com

UK: Kids sold "potentially dangerous" laser toys at carnival

Toy swords containing a red laser were sold at a carnival November 9 2012 in Weston. Although 69 of the toys were confiscated from six vendors, others may have been sold. Parents were advised to contact Trading Standards for advice or help in disposing of the laser swords.

The lasers were not labeled. The North Somerset Council warned the beam “could be seen 100m away” and “can actually cause serious and permanent damage to the eye.”

Laser sword toy


From the Weston Mercury 24

US: Teen partially blinded in one eye due to laser pointer

A 13-year-old Indianapolis-area boy lost part of the central vision in his left eye, after he shined a green laser pointer into a mirror and looked into the beam. Ross Vanderpool received the laser, whose power is unknown, in the summer of 2012 from a friend who bought it in Italy. He enjoyed playing with the laser. But the morning after looking directly into the beam, he woke up with a black dot in his vision. Vanderpool told a reporter about the vision loss: “If I close my right eye and look straight, I can’t see your nose, but I can see your mouth and earrings.”

Retinal specialist Dr. Ramana Moorthy saw a “yellowish kind of spot here with yellow black flecks [that] shouldn’t be there.” She said the injury was permanent. The boy’s father said he considered the laser pointer a toy, and that he had no idea that laser light was dangerous. He said other parents should throw away their children’s pointers.

From WTHR.com. Thanks to Jochen Pernsteiner for bringing this to our attention.

UK: Laser aimed at ambulance driver in Plymouth

A laser was aimed at an ambulance driver in the Keyham section of Plymouth, on September 5 2012. He had no apparent injury or effect from the lasing, and did not stop due to transporting a patient.

He told police that youths carried out the lasing. Police searched the area but did not find any suspects.

From
This Is Plymouth

Germany: 11-year-old suffers eye injury from classmates playing

An 11-year-old boy suffered “irreparable damage” from a laser pointer deliberately aimed at close range by his classmates. The children were on a Heidelberg school playground. The laser was aimed from a meter or so, first into one eye and then into the other.

Afterwards, the boy could not see clearly and had a black spot in his visual field. He kept this from his parents for about three weeks, after which the boy was seen by Professor Stefan Dithmar and Dr. Stefanie Pollithy at the University of Heidelberg Department of Ophthalmology. Their diagnosis was “acute bilateral impaired vision and central scotoma.”

A journal article in Der Ophthalmologe has more information, but the full article requires a subscription. Jochen Pernstainer, who told LaserPointerSafety.com about the case, kindly provided several details from the article:

  • The schoolyard exposure lasted several seconds
  • The laser pointer was measured at 55 milliwatts
  • The boy had impaired vision and a black spot on both eyes
  • Nine weeks after the exposure his vision got a bit better

laser injury 11-yr-old boy left eye laser injury 11-yr-old boy right eye
Fundoscopic photos of the 11-year-old boy’s left and right eyes. Larger versions can be seen
here.


Dithmar told a local newspaper that the German Product Safety Act prohibits the sale of products that might cause harm to health, but “there is little that you cannot get on the Internet.”

Press report from die Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (in German; an English Google-translated version is here). Journal article in Der Ophthalmologe, Vol. 109, No. 9 (2012), 907-910, entitled “Akute bilateral Visusminderung kit Zentralskotom bei einem 11-jährigen Jungen.” Thanks to Jochen Pernsteiner for bringing this to our attention.

US: UPDATED - Teen arrested for lasing at Cardinals baseball game

A 17-year-old fan wielding a laser pointer at a major league baseball game was identified by a manager, and was arrested on a charge of “peace disturbance at an athletic event,” a misdemeanor. The Cardinals-Giants game took place August 6 2012 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny saw a green dot on the pitcher’s mound in the bottom of the seventh inning. He saw the teen in a luxury suite near the first base line and mouthed “I see you” to him. The boy then aimed the laser over Matheny’s head. Security followed the teen and two of his friends as they tried to ditch the laser pointer in a trash can; it was later recovered. The boy was apprehended and spent a few hours in jail. The Cardinals will also take action against the owners of the suite where the teens sat.

Police said they would seek criminal charges against the unidentified teen.

Giants’ pitcher Shane Loux said he did not see the laser light, although a teammate said he saw green light on Loux’s face.

The Cardinals’ director of security said lasing a player can be dangerous because of the possibility of blinding and because “when you go into what's been going on in the country right now, it's totally irresponsible to pretend you've got laser sights on somebody."

From KMOV, Examiner.com, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

UPDATE August 8 2012: The teen was identified as Eric Bogard, a high-school student in Ladue, “the wealthiest inner-ring suburb of St. Louis” according to the city’s Wikipedia entry. Bogard’s lawyer said the laser was never directly pointed at anyone and that Bogard was part of “kids in the box acting foolish. Acting like kids.” The lawyer said Bogard “regrets his actions.”

Bogard was originally charged with disturbing the peace at an athletic event. This carries a fine of $25 to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. On August 8, he was also charged with violating the harassment section of a 1999 ordinance regulating laser use and possession. The section states “It shall be unlawful for any person to focus, point or shine laser beam directly or indirectly on another person or animal in such a manner as to harass, annoy or injure such person or animal.” This carries a fine of $50 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail. From Fox2Now, KSDK and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Eric Bogard laser
Eric Bogard, via Fox2Now


UPDATE 2, August 17 2012: The stadium suite was used by a Mercy Health System executive. She resigned her position after publicity about the incident, during which she was confrontational with stadium authorities. With regard to the teen, Eric Bogard, police say there is “no additional movement” in the case. From the Creve Coeur Patch.

US: Teen issued a citation for lasing Myrtle Beach officer

Raymond Andrew Delossantos, a 19-year-old from Huntington, West Virginia was cited for aiming a laser pointer at a Myrtle Beach S.C. police officer on July 31, 2012. The teen was in a car traveling on a city road. Green laser light was being aimed out of the car. The light hit the officer in the eyes. He stopped the car; Delossantos admitted aiming the laser out the window. The device, estimated to cost $50, was confiscated and Delossantos was issued a citation.

From Myrtle Beach Online

US: Calif. woman has laser shined on her while in bed

A police report in Trabuco Canyon, northwest of Mission Viejo, California, was taken from a woman reporting seeing a red laser light on her while she was in bed just after midnight on July 28 2012.

From the Orange County Register

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.

US: Laser pointer aimed into neighbor's window in Mass.

The Burlington (Massachusetts) Police Department log for July 10 2012 has an entry that “At At 9:37 p.m. a caller from Wing Terrace reported a next door neighbor is shining a laser pointer into her bedroom window.”

From BurlingtonPatch.com

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
.

US: California pre-teen stopped from pointing laser at cars

On July 12 2012, in the San Francisco bedroom community of Tracy, California, a 12-year-old boy was aiming a laser pointer from his roof, onto passing cars. Police were called; the boy’s mother took away his pointer and told the officers it would not happen again. The boy was released to his mother’s custody.

From the Tracy Press

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
.

US: UPDATED - Calif. woman arrested for pointing laser at fire engine

A woman was arrested for pointing a laser at a fire truck that was responding to a call, and then again as they returned to the fire house on June 30 2012. Irene Marie Levy, 31, of San Jacinto, California was charged with pointing a laser at a moving vehicle. She was also charged with violating her probation on a previous conviction of making fake bomb threats and interfering with emergency radio dispatches in 2010. Bail in the laser incident was set at $25,000.

There was no reason given for Levy’s use of the laser pointer against the driver of the fire truck.

Irene Levy laser
Irene Marie Levy


From KABC and the Press-Enterprise

UPDATE, NOVEMBER 2012: Levy was arrested on November 2 2012 for aiming a laser at a police cruiser, then at the sheriff’s department helicopter sent to investigate. More on this story is here.

Ukraine: Laser aimed at French players during Euro 2012 match

During a Euro 2012 football (soccer) match on June 15 between France and Ukraine, French player Samir Nasri appeared to have a green laser aimed at his face. It happened as he was taking a corner kick in the 49th minute of the match. From accounts of the match, it did not seem to adversely affect Nasri’s kick or his play.

Later, after France won 2-0, a green laser was aimed at the chest of France’s Adil Rami as he celebrated the victory:

Adil Rami laser


Story from the Daily Mail, photo from Daylife. Thanks to Tim Cooper for bringing this to our attention, as well as “Boatbuilder”.

UK: Shopkeeper threatened with non-existent "laser gun"

The owner of a fruit and vegetable shop was punched in the face and threatened with a “laser gun” during a robbery June 9 2012. However, no laser, gun or other weapon was produced during the assault. It took place in Preston, Lancashire.

The shopkeeper had cuts and bruises but did not provide any money to the robber.

From the Lancashire Evening Post

France: UPDATED - Kanye West calls out concertgoer for hitting him with a laser

Kanye West interrupted a June 2 2012 concert in Paris to berate an audience member who shined a green laser at the singer.

In a fan video posted to YouTube, West began a song that used theatrical lasers (e.g., part of his show). A few seconds into the song, West abruptly stopped and pointed into the audience. He angrily said “You see this guy right here with the green laser? Don't f**k with everybody's show. This is not a fucking game.” The laser was apparently aimed at West again, who said “You're going to get f**ked up and kicked out, I don't want that sh*t. So chill the f**k out.” During the incident, the crowd booed the concert-disrupting laser.

From ABC News, Huffington Post, and other sources. Another YouTube video taken by a fan is here.

UPDATE June 12 2012: Kanye West similarly berated an audience member who threw a coin on stage during a June 9 concert in Dublin. West stopped in the middle of a song and said “Start again… I ain't trying to make excuses but y'all threw a f*cking coin up here and threw me all the way off. Don't throw that hard sh*t up here while I'm performing. Seriously. You f*cked it up for everybody, I was having a perfect show. Flawless victory. Don't throw no sh*t on the stage." From Ology.com.

US: Again, laser hits San Diego harbor officer who goes to hospital

For the second time in a month, a green laser pointer was aimed at a San Diego Harbor Police boat, sending an officer to the hospital. On May 23 2012, a young adult partying on the beach pointed a laser pointer at the boat, which was about 1/2 mile offshore. An officer was hit by a “powerful” beam. Ground units scaled down cliffs to apprehend the man. He said he did not realize the hazard and did not know he had done an illegal act. The man was issued a citation for intentionally lasing the boat.

A Harbor Police spokesperson told LaserPointerSafety.com “neither officer was injured in the latest incident” and “the laser used in this incident was much less powerful than the one used” in the May 4 2012 lasing, when two San Diego Harbor Police officers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center after their boat was lased. One officer was said to have had a temporary injury in one eye.

2012-05 San Diego incident locations
Approximate locations of the lasers (green triangles) and Harbor Police boats (red squares).


From 10news.com

UK: York teen charged with criminal use of a laser pointer

On April 21 2012, two teenagers were pulled over by York police for pointing a laser pointer at houses. Their Jeep was searched; one 16-year-old was charged with possession of tobacco by a person under the age of 18. The other 16-year-old was charged with criminal use of a laser pointer which is a misdemeanor. They will appear in court on June 21.

From SeacoastOnline.com

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Teen arrested for pointing a laser at an officer

A Mililani, Hawaii teenager was arrested for aiming a laser at an off-duty Honolulu police officer on May 9 2012. The laser beam hit the officer in the face and eyes while he was driving. It is unknown if other motorists were also targeted or hit. The 15-year-old was charged with possession of a laser by a minor, harassment by laser and reckless endangerment.

From KITV.com

US: UPDATED - San Diego harbor officers injured by laser

Two San Diego Harbor Police officers were injured by a green laser beam, while on routine patrol in Point Loma, at about 8:30 pm May 4 2012.

Officers Jennifer McMaster and Robert Twardy were patrolling near the Shelter Island Fishing Pier when both illuminated directly in their right eye. Twardy said “I noticed that I had a bright spot, like a residual flash that you kind of get when a camera flashes in your eye.” He suffered a “burning sensation”. Both officers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center.

Twardy said that McMaster had a more direct hit, was in pain, and complained of blindness. She had possible burns to her retinas, and took time off to recover, according to the Los Angeles Times. She will make a full recovery, according to an NBC San Diego story. [See Update 1, at the bottom of this story after clicking the “Read More” link, for more medical information.]
Click to read more...

US: Long Island resident harassed by laser pointer

The police blotter in Northport, Long Island, NY includes an entry where a resident reported that a youth was aiming a laser pointer at his television. The report states that “The officer located the parent of the subject who was pointing the laser. The subject was warned and admonished on hers son's behavior.” The incident happened April 17 2012.

From the Northport Patch

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.

Italy: Barcelona's Messi tagged with laser pen against Milan

During a Champions League quarter-final on March 28 2012, FC Barcelona player Lionel Messi had laser light shined in his face during a free kick against AC Milan. According to the Guardian, the light “clearly bothered him” and he missed the kick.

Lionel Messi laser

Later, during another Messi free kick, a laser was aimed at Milan defender Dani Alves.

Messi is a top-ranked star who he won FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, and won the UFEA Best Player in Europe award for 2010-11.

From Metro and the Guardian

Canada: UPDATED - Laser beams aimed at police during St. Patrick's Day riot

During a riot in London, Ontario, fire crews and police were attacked with thrown objects, as well as police having laser beams aimed at their eyes.

The 5-hour confrontation began the evening of March 17 2012. St. Patrick’s Day parties “spilled into the street” in an area near Fanshawe College. The crowd grew to about 1,000 people. A brush fire was started, and a CTV news truck was set on fire. To slow fire crews, some persons threw beer bottles, bricks, wooden planks, tires, rim and other debris. In addition, said London’s police chief, “members of the crowd used laser pointers aimed at our officers’ eyes to try to disrupt our response.” A spectator said that the crowd, made up primarily of students, “wanted to egg on the police.”

Pic 2012-03-20 at 10.18.01 AM
A person aims a laser during the London, Ontario riot. From a photo gallery at
The Star.

Pic 2012-03-20 at 10.12.57 AM
From the
Toronto Sun. This is possibly the same laser beam; note glow from fire to the left, behind the officers.

The full extent of the laser misuse is not known. While the police chief indicated there were multiple lasers involved, the National Post said “One rioter attempted to blind the officers with a high-powered green laser.” Media reviewed by LaserPointerSafety.com found a single laser being used in each photo or video. Although some bystanders and police suffered minor injuries from thrown objects during the rioting, there were no reports of laser-caused eye effects or injuries. Eleven persons were arrested at the scene; charges included assaulting police. It is not known if any laser assault charges were brought.



In the video above, green laser light can be seen on a student, beginning at about 1:48. At 1:52, a single beam is shown being waved around at approximate head level. From 1:59 to 2:05, the beam is rapidly scanned towards stationary police officers who are monitoring the crowd. The beam in the video appears to come from the same person or area as shown in the photos above.

Similar riots occurred in the same area of Fleming Drive in 2007 and 2009, blamed on a high concentration of alcohol-fueled Fanshawe students. The 2012 riot is expected to cost London $100,000 in manpower and repair costs.

From CBC News, Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, The Star, and the National Post. Thanks to Mathieu Gauthier for helping bring this to our attention.

UPDATED, April 20 2012: Thirty-eight people are facing a total of 85 charges in the incident, thus far. Brian Nuccitelli, 18, faces three charges including two relating to misuse of a laser pointer: “possessing a weapon dangerous to public peace” and “assaulting a police officer with a weapon”. Police said the pointer was aimed at officers’ faces. They said “one officer was injured and continues to receive medical attention as the result of the laser being directed at his eyes.” In addition to Nuccitelli, police are also looking for another person who aimed a laser at officers. From lfpress.com

US: Laser pointed at stranger's chest in Myrtle Beach

Two men in a car pointed a red laser at two intoxicated men waiting for a taxi, at about 2:45 am March 18 2012, according to a Myrtle Beach (SC) police report. One of the intoxicated men was “tagged in the chest” at a distance of about 100 feet by what they assumed was a gun with a laser sight. (They did not see a gun.) The car drove away before police arrived.

From
Myrtle Beach Online. Note that there have been many reports of laser pointer harassment and misuse against aircraft in Myrtle Beach. The town passed an ordinance in late September 2011, making it a misdemeanor to aim a laser at a person, animal or vehicle, and restricting possession by and sales to minors. A similar ordinance passed in nearby North Myrtle Beach.

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Suspicious red laser pointer in Mass. bathroom

“March 12, 2012, 2:54 a.m. A call was received from the Massachusetts State Police regarding a break in. A caller had called the state police reporting two shadows on the shade of the basement window on Franklin Street. Caller said he did not see any actual people, but he did see a red laser pointer in his bathroom.”

From the Mansfield, Mass. police log, as reported by Mansfield Patch

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Mass. teen bullied, injured with laser pointer leaves school

An Attleboro, Mass. teenager has left her high school after repeated bullying culminated in a laser pointer incident which left her with pain and blurred vision in one eye.

In early February 2012, a male student was flashing a number of students with a laser pointer. Noelle-Marie Harrington, 16, was flashed in the eye. She went to an emergency room and to an ophthalmologist for evaluation. As of early March 2012, her vision is back to normal.

The boy was suspended for two days. However, the boy’s friends bullied Harrington. She had previously been bullied in middle school, as well as in high school. Harrington’s mother said the school was unable to stop the bullying, and in early March she withdrew her daughter from Attleboro High School.

From the Sun Chronicle

US: UPDATED - Parent at HS game aims laser at opposing team; charged with disturbing the peace

A parent aimed a green laser pointer into the eyes of players on a high school hockey team, possibly helping defeat the team. The parent was made to leave and was later banned from attending future sporting events. No charges have been brought as of March 1 2012.

On February 29, a Division I girls’ hockey playoff game took place in the Boston-area town of Winthrop, Mass. Parents of the Medway-Ashland team told FOX 25 TV news that a Winthrop parent was using a laser pointer “through the game” and especially in the third period. School officials noticed the laser and escorted the parent out.

Winthrop’s athletic director said no players were hit by the laser “as far as he knew.” FOX 25 reported that the pointer did go into the eyes of players, and that a Medway-Ashland goalie reportedly had headaches after the game.

The laser could have affected the score, since Medway-Ashland had been leading early in the third period, but Winthrop came back in the final minutes to win 3-1. M-A parents wanted like the game replayed, and the coach claimed that five or six M-A players said they were distracted by the laser during the game. Winthrop’s athletic director denied that the laser had any effect on the score. The game will be reviewed but the TV news reported that “it is unlikely the outcome will be reversed.”

From FOX 25 News and Wicked Local Medway We have put up a special page here at LaserPointerSafety.com which gives additional facts and informed commentary about this case.

UPDATE, March 2 2012:
  • The superintendent of Winthrop schools wants criminal charges filed against the laser-pointing dad. The official has turned a videotape of the game over to police.
  • The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association says the game will stand. MIAA issued a letter denying an appeal by Medway-Ashland parents, based on referees saying the game was fair.
  • CBS WBZ-TV quoted Medway-Ashland goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “It’s kind of like when you look at the sun and then you look away you see that spot and you can’t see for a couple of seconds. You shake your head and try to get it out of your system and just keep focusing, but it’s difficult.” Hamer and her father said the laser directly affected her ability to defend against Winthrop’s first goal.

From FOX 25 News and CBS Boston

UPDATE 2, March 3 2012: FOX 25 is reporting that a laser pointer was used in a similar way during in a game one year ago against Winthrop. A former coach of the Wilmington High School girls’ hockey team says the 8th grade goalie complained about the laser pointer being flashed in her eyes. The coach discussed this with Winthrop’s coach, who later told him “the problem was taken care of” so no complaint was filed. It is not known if the parent ejected after the Feb. 29 2012 incident is the same person from the Wilmington game a year ago. From FOX 25 News and 7 News WHDH.

UPDATE 3, March 4 2012: WHDH TV confirmed that the man ejected during the Wilmington game in 2011 was the same person who was ejected during the Medway-Ashland game. From 7 News WHDH.

UPDATE 4, March 7 2012: Joseph Cordes, 42, will be arraigned on a criminal charge of disturbing the peace. He told CBS station WBZ that he “I feel like a complete jerk. It was very stupid, completely immature….” and that he had humiliated his daughter.

Joseph Cordes laser pointer hockey game
Screen capture of Joseph Cordes, from WBZ-TV


The Boston Globe quoted the father of goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “I’m not sure if disturbing the peace is quite enough, because I think this man had a malicious intent.” Phillip Hamer has not decided whether to file civil charges. He said his daughter had “momentary confusion” from the laser exposure, but is “fine now.” From the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe, and CBS Boston WBZ-TV.
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US: UPDATED - Man showing laser sight to wife shoots, kills her

A man was demonstrating the laser sight on his AK-47 assault rifle to his wife when the gun fired, killing her. The death, apparently accidental, occurred on February 21 2012.

The Flagler County (FL) Sheriff’s Office said that William Merrill, 32, and his wife Stefanie were at their Palm Coast, Florida home in their master bathroom while their 3-year-old daughter was taking a bath. Merrill pointed the AK-47 at his wife to show her the laser’s beam. The two were talking about how bright the beam was when the gun fired once. Stefanie died at the scene.

Pic 2012-02-23 at 10.46.01 PM
William Merrill


On February 23, Merrill was arrested for manslaughter and for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He had been convicted in 2007 on grand theft and other charges.

From the Orlando Sentinel

UPDATED October 30 2012 - William Merrill was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The minimum he could have received was 10 years, and the maximum was 30 years.

The “possession of a firearm by a convicted felon” charge was dropped when Merrill pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge. (He could have received up to 45 years if given the maximum under both charges.)

During trial the prosecutor said “I don’t believe, and it’s not our position that Mr. Merrill intentionally killed his wife that morning.” But, he said, Merrill’s actions were egregiously reckless and disregarded safety.

When pronouncing sentence, the judge noted that Merrill had a stash of over 20 firearms and he violated the most basic of firearm rules. The judge concluded that it did not matter if it was an accident, Merrill was guilty of killing his wife.

From FlaglerLive.com

Greece: Laser pointers continue to be used in riots

Laser pointers continue to be used during demonstrations in Athens, in mid-February 2012. The photo below accompanied a February 13 Reuters story.

Pic 2012-02-20 at 9.44.24 AM
Two separate lasers are being used, possibly held by the same person. One beam is aimed at the row of riot police at lower left, the other’s target is out of the camera frame. A more detailed version can be seen at the
Toledo Blade; click on the small photo to see it larger.

The Reuters story described burning buildings, smoke plumes, tear gas, hurled stones, petrol bombs and stun grenades. Fourteen protesters and eight policemen were injured, and more than 50 protesters were treated for breathing problems due to tear gas. The story did not mention laser pointers, so it is unknown the extent of their use, what effect they may have had on the situation, and whether any persons were injured or sought treatment.

A photo from the Associated Press was published February 20, showing green laser light directly in the eyes of a riot policeman. The accompanying AP story briefly discussed demonstrations, and did not mention laser pointer use.

Pic 2012-02-20 at 9.35.30 AM


Reuters story as published in the Otago Daily Times; AP story as published in the Toledo Blade. Previous LaserPointerSafety.com news items about laser use during riots, including protests in Greece, are listed here.
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US: Juvenile temporarily blinds officer, who remains out for evaluation

A police officer in Montville (NJ) was temporarily blinded by a green laser pointer wielded by a juvenile in a February 8 2012 incident. As of February 17, the officer remains off duty for evaluation. The juvenile was charged with aggravated assault and interfering with transportation.

Patrolman Jason Blustein was driving to investigate a burglar alarm when the beam went into his left eye and he “briefly lost vision.” Blustein continued to the alarm site where he found it was a false alarm. He then went to the home where the beam had been aimed from a second-floor window. He spoke with a woman who called her son downstairs. A laser pointer was confiscated and the boy was arrested. Police say “the juvenile was upset and said he didn’t mean it.”

From the Montville NJ Patch

US: Road rage laser in passenger's eyes, then bullets in car

In a road rage incident February 12 2012, four Cincinnati-area teenagers were targeted first by a laser that hit the front seat passenger in the eyes, then by bullets that shattered the window glass and hit one of the teens in the leg. Driver Grady Black said of the other car’s driver "He was in the right lane I was in the left lane and they flipped him off out of the window and the next thing you know he shined the laser into the car, we thought it was just a laser pointer and I hear the window shatter and I took off."

It turned out that the light was from a laser sight on the gun. The injured teenager, Kevin Boegeman, appears to be “alright all things considered.” The perpetrator has not been found as of February 13.

From WKRC Cincinnati

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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UK: UPDATED - Train stops, driver goes to hospital, after laser pen attack

A train was forced to stop, and the driver was hospitalized, after a green laser pen was shone into his eyes. The February 9 2012 incident happened at 9:30 pm in the White City area, on the 8:41 pm First Great Western train from Bristol Temple Meads to Worcester Shrub Hill. The train stopped at Gloucester, where the driver was treated by paramedics and was taken to hospital. Passengers transferred to another train.

A police spokesman said the laser light “not
only distracted the driver and potentially damaged his eye, but it also could have had serious safety consequences for the passengers. The driver's attention was averted from his job of safely controlling the train…. He is currently awaiting the results of medical assessments on his eye and is in some degree of pain. We are hopeful he'll make a full recovery but, at this stage, he is in some discomfort."

Police are asking for assistance in finding two youths seen on a footbridge off Southfield Road in White City.

From this is Gloucestershire and BBC News Gloucestershire

UPDATE February 14 2012: The train driver “is recovering and should return to work next week”, according to a spokesperson for First Great Western quoted by BBC News Gloucestershire. The story also said that there had been six laser-train incidents on the FGW network from January 2011 through February 14 2012, and that the February 9 incident had the most serious impact on the driver.

US: Maine man sentenced to 10 days for pointing laser gunsight at police

A 28-year-old man received a 10-day jail sentence on February 8 2012, for aiming a laser gunsight at a police officer. Moses Rollins pleaded guilty to reckless conduct and criminal use of a laser. The reckless conduct charge was deferred; if he complies with a one-year agreement, he will not be convicted. Rollins’ 10-day jail sentence for criminal use of a laser begins March 9.

On May 10 2011, police were called to a barn in New Sharon. They found two intoxicated men were firing shots for about an hour. One man came out and was arrested. The gunshots continued. At one point, a laser pointer was aimed at police and at a cruiser. After Rollins exited the barn and was arrested, police found a 30-30 rifle with an attached laser scope.

From the Sun Journal

US: 21-year-old arrested for aiming a laser at an officer

A 21-year-old was arrested February 6 2012 for aiming a laser pointer at a police officer and a marked squad car in Canton, Ohio. Jeremy L. Wiser also had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on a drug paraphernalia charge. He was also arrested for the outstanding warrant.

Bond was set at $240. He will appear in court on March 1.

From the Canton Daily Ledger

US: Tenn. man says laser was really LED on a taser

A 39-year-old Tennessee man was jailed for aggravated assault and for pointing a laser at a police officer in a February 4 2011 incident in Murfreesboro. A couple reported that a man was pointing a gun at them. When police responded and questioned Daniel Timothy Harrison, he pointed a taser with an attached laser at an officer, according to police accounts.

Harrison disputes the charges. Regarding the laser, he said “There wasn’t a laser attached to the taser anywhere. This is one of those tasers that has a little LED flashlight on the end of it, where you can push the button kind of like one of those key-chain LED flashlights.”

Harrison will appear before a judge in May, and is confident that “the truth will come out in the end.”

From DNJ.com

Note about whether tasers include lasers: A quick check of a feature chart at the Taser website shows that all three of their consumer models, C2, X26C and M26C include lasers which help in aiming the device. The C2 also includes one LED light for general illumination while the X26C has two LED lights.
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New Zealand: Laser pointer used to provoke teen before fight

A 14-year-old was beaten in a fight by two older teenagers. The January 13 2012 incident started when the older teens aimed a laser pointer at the boy and his friends, and began following him. The boy asked the older teens to stop. One said “Are you disrespecting me?” and then punched him. He was knocked unconscious for several seconds, and suffered a broken jaw. The older teens have not yet been found.

From IOL News

US: Minor laser pointer incident in Concord NH Dunkin' Donuts

A 20-year-old Concord (NH) man was arrested January 6 2012 on a bench warrant and for “conduct involving laser pointers”. Stephen C. Hall was arrested at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

From Patch.com

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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UK: Footballer scores winning goal despite laser pen attack

During a Carling Cup semi-final match January 11 2012, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had a laser pen aimed at his face just prior to taking a penalty kick:

Pic 2012-01-12 at 11.39.45 AM

Despite the distraction, Gerrard made the game-winning goal against Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart:

Pic 2012-01-12 at 11.32.39 AM

There was no indication in news stories whether the pen-wielding laser lout was identified.

From The Telegraph

US: Road rage results from laser aimed into motorist's mirror

From the Carlisle, Pennsyslvania police log:

“No one was injured in a crash in the parking lot of Papa John’s on Hanover Street at 2:27 p.m. Dec. 29 [2011]. Paul B. Matter, 23, of Carlisle told police that he attempted to prevent Derek Pospisil, 30, of Carlisle from leaving the parking lot because Pospisil had been shinning a laser pointer into Matter’s mirrors while they were driving down the road earlier. Pospisil did not stop when Matter blocked his path. No one was charged because the parking lot is private property.”

Via The Sentinel

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Laser pointer confiscated from misbehaving Ohio boy

Police in Strongsville (Ohio) were called on December 29 2011 about groups of kids who were throwing snowballs and eggs. Police found one group and escorted them to a home where they were spending the night. A laser pointer was confiscated from one of the kids.

From
Strongsville Patch

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Man points gun with laser sight in New Hampshire road rage incident

In what police describe as a road rage incident, a driver on Interstate 93 in Sanbornton, New Hampshire pointed a handgun with a laser sight at another driver. 48-year-old John Spyros Privolos, a Massachusetts resident, was arrested in the December 29 2011 incident. A handgun with a grip-activated laser sight was found in Privolos’ possession.

John Spyros Privolos laser
Charged with driving without a valid license, and criminal threatening


From
WMUR TV

US: NY residents report red laser shined into home

The Scarsdale (New York) police department received a call from two residents reporting that a man dressed in black shined a red laser into their home. Police units investigated but could find no sign of the man or the laser pointer.

From Scarsdale Patch

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: We monitor news reports of laser misuse. One reason for this is to try to get an idea of the relative rate of events such as harassment of the public and of sports figures, aiming at automobiles, aiming at airplanes, etc. We see relatively few reports such as the one above, but have listed it as part of this coverage.
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US: Drunk arrested on Christmas Eve for lasing police car

On Christmas Eve 2011, an apparently intoxicated man repeatedly aimed a green laser pointer at a police officer sitting in his parked patrol car at the Southington (Connecticut) fire department headquarters. The officer initially thought the green light was from a traffic signal changing. He then saw a green dot on the windshield and realized it was from a laser pointer across the street. Backup was called in, and 35-year-old Kevin R. King was identified as the perpetrator.

King said he was “kidding around” while demonstrating the laser to friends. He was given a $75 ticket for shining a laser pointer to harass or alarm. A court date of January 13 was set for Bristol Superior Court.

From MyRecordJournal.com and Southington Patch

World: Hobbyist injures self with 1 watt blue laser

A laser hobbyist was injured by a 1 watt 445 nanometer (blue) laser on December 6 2011. The injury required unspecified surgery, possibly removal of intraocular blood via needle. Two days after the surgery, the hobbyist reported a blurry dark circle in his central vision. His doctor told him he would always have a small off-center blind spot, and that his brain would “auto-correct” to fill in the spot.

(UPDATE March 14 2012: The hobbyist reported “I still have the blind spot, and was effectively told by the ophthalmologist that it would probably be there the rest of my life. That doesn't bother me TOO much, since it isn't very inhibiting.”)
.Click to read more...

Australia: Qld teens aim laser at car, then fire shots

Three male teenagers were arrested for shining a laser into a driver’s eyes, then firing gunshots into the car. News reports did not say whether the laser was a sight on the weapon, or whether it was a separate device.

The incident occurred December 13 2011 in Beenleigh, about 35 km south of Brisbane, Queensland. The targeted driver was not injured but the rear window of the car was shattered.

An 18-year-old faces fifteen charges, a 16-year-old faces five charges, and a 15-year-old faces sixteen charges. A press account from Nine News listing some of the charges did not list any that were laser-specific.

From Nine News

US: Drivers in Pa. lased by two teens

Two teenagers in a vehicle were arrested December 2 2011 for aiming a green laser pointer at cars in Myerstown, Pennsylvania (about midway between Harrisburg and Reading). Police were called to the scene by motorists; the responding state police trooper was hit in the eyes by the teens. Nicolo P. Vivona, 19, and William E. Eckart III, 18, were charged with recklessly endangering another person, harassment, and disorderly conduct.

From ABC27 and Reading Eagle

World: Soccer star feels persecuted by laser attacks

Real Madrid football (soccer) star Cristiano Ronaldo said he feels “persecuted” by fans of rival football clubs. He has been repeatedly targeted by laser pointers; most recently in Bosnia where he was hit multiple times during a practice on November 11 2011. He used an obscene gesture at the fans in return but was criticized in the media.

Pic 2011-11-17 at 8.21.54 AM

"Everyone is speaking badly of me, but why don't people criticize the lasers that were being aimed into my eyes?” Ronaldo said at a press conference. He intends to ask the Union of European Football Associations to take action to ban laser pointers from stadiums.

From
Bettor.com, ESPN, and Yahoo!Sports

Northern Ireland: Youths aim laser pen at drivers

A group of youths aimed a laser pen at motorists in Limavady, near Derry, on November 8 2011. A bus driver “averted his gaze and managed to avoid damage to his eyes.” Another man hit said “my car had a green laser aimed at it, but thankfully the laser reflected off the body work. It did, however, still alter the clarity of vision so I can appreciate how extremely dangerous a laser aimed at drivers could be.”

Police are searching for the perpetrators.

From the Derry Journal

US: 90 days for Washington state man who used a blue 1 watt laser on an officer

Daniel P. McBride, 32, of Cosmopolis, Washington, was sentenced on October 24 2011 to 90 days in jail for second-degree unlawful discharge of a blue 1-watt Wicked Lasers Spyder III Arctic laser. The incident happened in January 2011 during a traffic stop in Montesano. McBride had also been charged with assaulting an officer; that charge was dropped in a plea bargain agreement.

As part of the sentence, the judge ordered that McBride continue mental therapy even after he completes his sentence.

Original story from KXRO Newsradio. Remainder of story pieced together from searching “laser” at the Daily World paid website.
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UK: Laser aimed at train driver near Gainsborough station

A green laser was aimed at a train driver near Gainsborough railway station on October 14 2011. It came from a housing development near Marshalls Rise, just outside the station. The driver was distracted by the laser light, and subsequent trains were placed on caution which caused delays.

Officers searched for suspects but did not find anyone. British Transport Police warn the public against misuse of laser pens.

From
Rail.co

UK: Teens shine laser at bus driver

A bus driver was left with “stinging eyes” after teenagers aimed a laser at him on October 11 2011. The driver declined hospital treatment.

Police are trying to track down the person(s) in Shotton Colliery, south of Newcastle Upon Tyne, who shined a laser on the 24 Arriva bus service to Peterlee. In addition to the laser attack, there have been other reports of misbehavior in the area from youths in East Durham Homes council accommodations.

From the Sunderland Echo

US: 12-year-old charged with assault for laser pointer attack on classmate

A 12-year-old male was charged with felonious assault, for shining a laser pointer into the eye of a 13-year-old female classmate at Monticello Middle School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The girl did not immediately report the October 5 2011 incident, but waited until after she had pain in her eye and blurred vision. Her parents took her to the hospital and then to an eye specialist. They reported the incident to police on October 11. As of October 12, she still had blurred vision; the status of her eye is unknown.

From
Cleveland.com

Italy: Footballer says laser pointer not at fault for missed kick

A German football (soccer) player was flashed by a laser pointer from the stands, before taking a penalty kick. Striker Mario Gomez missed the shot, but later said “The laser pointer was there but it wasn’t the reason. I don’t have to look for excuses.”

The Champions League game was played October 18 2011 in Naples, between Bayern Munich and Napoli. Others on the Munich team had different opinions. Sports director Christian Nerlinger said “Laser points are not acceptable. It is a major disturbance and an impossible thing to do,” while midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said “Of course it is guess [sic] but I think there is little you can do about it.”

From Monsters and Critics

US: Oregon man aims laser-sighted gun at deputy

Michael Coats, 48, was arrested October 10 2011 after he lased a sheriff’s deputy with the red dot from a laser-sighted .45 semi-automatic pistol. Coats said he aimed the laser and gun because the lights from the patrol vehicle were disturbing him. He was charged with menacing, reckless endangerment, unlawful use of a firearm, and pointing a weapon. The incident happened in Jefferson, Marion County, Oregon.

Pic 2011-10-23 at 12.23.13 PM
Michael Coats

From KVAL.com

Canada: RCMP looking for person aiming a laser at motorists

Royal Canadian Mounted Police are looking for “a person in a motor vehicle who was shining a laser pointer into the eyes of drivers in approaching vehicles.” The incident happened on September 26 2011, in Comox Valley, British Columbia.

The RCMP said the person could be criminally charged if apprehended.

From Canada.com

US: Student injures policeman's eye during class lecture

A 16-year-old student has been charged with third-degree assault and battery after he aimed a red laser beam into the eye of a police officer. The officer said he immediately felt pain and had blurred vision. The officer confiscated the laser. He “received only a minor injury and is OK.”

The officer had been speaking at Union High School in Union, S.C. on the topic of negative classroom behavior.

From WYFF4.com and GoUpstate.com

UK: Laser pen aimed at vehicles and plane

A green laser was aimed at motorists near Witney, 12 miles west of Oxford, at about the same time that a commercial aircraft reported a green laser as it flew over Witney. Police are searching for the persons involved in the incidents.

Police received several calls that a group of people in a silver people carrier was shining a green laser on the A40 near Witney, at about 8 p.m on September 15 2011. Police also were contacted by air traffic control staff after an aircraft was targeted with a green laser at 8 p.m. The police declined to release details of the flight or its effect, if any, on the flight until statements had been taken from the pilots and crew. The fine for aiming at aircraft is up to £2,500.

From the Witney Gazette. This news item is being cross-posted in on the News/Aviation incidents page as well.

Australia: Driver has eye injury for days after laser attack

A driver in a Perth suburb suffered damage to his left eye, after a green laser beam was aimed through his windshield on August 28 2011. Anthony Zuvela said “I couldn’t see out of my left eye and my eye was burning…it was a very frightening experience.” He went for tests which showed that no permanent damage was done, although he was to stay away from bright light: “All Sunday and half of Monday, I wasn’t allowed to drive or go outside. I had to stay indoors in darkness and had a patch on my left eye.” He said the pressure behind his eye and itchiness lasted for days.

As of September 15, police have not found the perpetrator. There was a crackdown in the state of Western Australia in 2009. It is illegal to “cause fear or alarm in a driver by directing a laser pointer at a vehicle.” The penalty can be up to seven years in jail and an AUS $36,000 fine.

From InMyCommunity.com

US: Laser pointer arrest at free concert

An 18-year-old teen from Brattleboro, Vermont was arrested at a concert for “using a laser pointer where prohibited” and possession of a controlled substance. The venue, Merriweather Post Pavilion in Howard County, Maryland, prohibits laser pointers among other devices (removable lens cameras, recording devices, weapons, baskets).

The unnamed teen was one of three persons arrested September 10 2011 at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest concert . The other two arrests were not laser-related.

From the Baltimore Sun and the Merriweather Post Pavilion FAQ

Note: LaserPointerSafety.com is listing this incident as part of our coverage of non-aviation laser misuse. Because we see relatively few reports of laser misuse in the press, we list even minor reports like this one, for completeness.

Switzerland: Train driver flashblinded by laser pointer

A train driver was temporarily blinded when someone flashed a laser pointer in his eyes. The driver stopped the train and went to the hospital. His eye condition is unknown.

The incident took place September 11 2011 at the Lausen train station, in the Swiss canton of Basel Country.

Police called for witnesses and issued a reminder that Class 3 and 4 laser pointers are considered dangerous by law. Sales of Class 3 and 4 lasers are illegal. Currently, owning or using them is not illegal, but a modification of the law is underway.

From World Radio Switzerland

US: Calif. report of laser pointer aimed at cars

A brief report in the Ukiah, CA police log: “TEEN WITH LASER POINTER -- Caller at the corner of South State and Gobbi streets reported at 8:40 p.m. Saturday that two young girls were walking on East Gobbi Street and one had a laser pointer that she was pointing at passing cars.”

From the Ukiah Daily Journal

Note: LaserPointerSafety.com is listing this incident as part of our coverage of non-aviation laser misuse. Because we see relatively few reports of laser attacks on vehicles, we list even minor reports like this one, for completeness.

US, China: Chinese warship used light to attack US spy ship

A secret cable newly-revealed by WikiLeaks states that a U.S. survey ship was attacked for 30 minutes by a Chinese warship aiming a bright white narrow-beam light. The March 8 2008 incident took place in the East China Sea. According to the U.S. State Department cable, “the light was of such intensity that it temporarily impaired the visual acumen of USNS Victorious personnel and thereby constituted a hazard to navigation.”

Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State at the time, sent the cable to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Rice said that China’s actions were “provocative and inconsistent” with the law of the sea” and “constitute serious harassment and elevate the risk of miscalculation.”

Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz, who broke the story, was unable to find out whether the light was a laser or a high-powered searchlight. Gertz also pointed to parallels with the 1997 suspected laser use by the Russian merchant ship Kapitan Man.

From the Washington Times

Analysis: Based on the color, LaserPointerSafety.com believes it is a conventional light. To produce a white light beam with lasers requires superimposition of three or more single-color lasers. This is more difficult than using a single-color laser, and would not provide any significant benefit in a situation such as the ship attack. (If countermeasure anti-laser goggles are being used, then it may be beneficial to use multiple wavelengths. It is more difficult to defend against multiple wavelengths, and doing so would reduce conventional visibility since red, green and blue light would all be blocked. Even here, balancing the wavelengths to produce a “white” light is not necessary.)

New Zealand: Youth injury leads to calls for restrictions

An 11-year-old New Zealand boy has lost sharpness in his right eye, after playing with a 200 mW laser in his bedroom. The beam reflected from a mirror back into his eye, causing what the boy described as a “fuzzy blob”. Retinal specialist Dr. Dianne Sharp says the boy has a 1.5mm retinal scar that has “slightly compromised” his vision in the right eye by “reducing the reading level on the eye-testing chart by three print sizes.” His overall vision was not greatly affected, according to Dr. Sharp.

Dr. Sharp and the boy’s mother both called for restrictions on laser pointers in New Zealand. The boy’s laser was purchased in Thailand for $15 while on a family holiday in January 2011. The date of the laser injury is not known.Click to read more...

US: Philly man, 41, arrested for aiming at police cruiser

A 41-year-old North Philadelphia man was arrested July 2 2011, after aiming a laser pointer at a passing police officer in a squad car. The officer was on a backup call in the Fairhill area when he saw a “blinding light” that “caused him to slam on the brakes.” Francisco Gonzalez-Rosado was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

From Philly.com

Sweden: 10-year-old lases security guard in eye

A 10-year-old Swedish boy aimed a green laser pointer at a security guard who was driving down the road. The guard was “momentarily stunned” and suffered tears and pain in his eye. The boy was found at a nearby apartment building. He could have faced aggravated assault charges, but no charges were brought due to his young age. The boy was handed over to social services.

The laser pointer had been bought during a trip outside of the country. Swedish law prohibits sale of pointers in stores, and their possession in a public place requires a permit.

The incident happened in Borås, at about 1 am on July 30 2011. News reports did not say if the guard was working for the apartment complex, or if he was a passerby who happened to be driving past the apartments.

From
The Local

Malaysia: Laser shined on goalie during World Cup qualifying game

A goalie for Singapore was lased during a World Cup qualifying match with Malaysia held in Kuala Lumpur, July 28 2011.


A still from the video (below) shows a laser being used to disrupt goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud



This is at least the third time that Malasysian fans have lased opponents. On December 26 2010, an AFF Cup finals match with Indonesia was delayed eight minutes after a laser was aimed on Indonesia’s goalkeeper Markus Harison. Indonesia’s president became involved after the game. News reports at the time said there was also a previous incident in a game with Vietnam.

From Guyism and YouTube

Greece: UK teen stabbed to death after laser pen harassment

A 19-year-old British citizen, on holiday in Greece, was stabbed and killed by a taxi driver angry after the teen and his friends aimed lasers at the driver.

Robert Sebbage and his friends had been shining lasers at taxis waiting in line outside a nightclub. The teens were rushed by two angry taxi drivers, brandishing a knife and a baseball bat. Sebbage was killed; Jordan Manson, 18, was taken to a hospital where he was operated on for stab wounds to the chest and neck. Three other teens were also taken to the hospital, with less serious injuries.

Taxi driver Stelios Morfis, 21, was charged with premeditated murder. A second driver was also arrested as an accomplice.

The stabbing happened in a resort town, Laganas, located on the Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante). The Telegraph noted that “in Laganas, the antics of young British tourists on ‘non-stop party’ holiday packages have provoked growing criticism from the Greek authorities and local residents.”

From The Telegraph. Thanks to Dr. Phil Tyley, Laser Safety Advisor, Senior Scientist, QinetiQ for bringing this to our attention.

UPDATE July 18 2011: Jordan Manson’s parents describe the attack to The Mirror.

US: Arizona man arrested for aiming laser at officers' feet

A man was arrested July 3 2011 for aiming a laser pointer at the feet of six police officers in Prescott, Arizona. When confronted, the man gave his laser to an officer. The officer told the man that aiming a laser at law enforcement officers was a crime; the man replied that he did not do it intentionally. As the officer walked away, the man yelled profanities.

The case has been referred to the city prosecutor to see if charges will be brought.

From the Daily Courier

Australia: Laser aimed near Sydney police car

A 16-year-old boy was arrested by police officers in a Sydney suburb after a laser beam was aimed onto the road near their vehicle. When apprehended, the teen was holding a laser pointer, and another pointer was in his pocket. Later at the Maroubra Police Station, he told investigators that he had a third pointer at his home.

He was released without charge pending further inquiries.

From a NSW Police Force press release

Greece: Demonstrators use lasers against police and to write on building

Greek protesters used laser pointers extensively during peaceful demonstrations against fiscal austerity measures, in June 2011 at the Parliament building in Athens.


A view of the crowd (AP via
Yahoo News)


Laser pointers were aimed at the police (DPA via
Spiegel)


Green and red pointers were also aimed at the Parliament building, where the dots from red pointers spelled the Greek word for “thieves.” (DPA via
Spiegel)

Northern Ireland: Retinal injury claimed in ambulance illumination

An ambulance driver said he suffered a retinal burn from a laser attack. On June 11 2011, John Corr was driving in Belfast, taking a patient to a hospital. A car pulled alongside and aimed a laser at the ambulance, hitting Corr in the eye. He was temporarily blinded, so his colleague took over the driving. Corr later went to a specialist eye clinic at Royal Victoria Hospital where he was told he had a burn to his retina.

Corr characterized the incident as an assault, and said there should be a specific law to protect ambulance staff. The perpetrator has not been found.

From the Belfast Telegraph

US: Ocean City NJ residents report increasing laser harassment

Residents of Ocean City, New Jersey are reporting increasing laser pointer harassment of ordinary citizens. This is in addition to multiple reports of aircraft being lased from the resort town. Officials have asked local merchants to stop selling laser pointers though voluntary compliance has been spotty. This has brought renewed attention to a state Senate bill that would prohibit the sale of laser pointers above 1 milliwatt.

Ocean City Patch said a “quick survey ... found repeated recent uses of laser beams to bother drivers, pets and pedestrians”. Persons interviewed gave anecdotes such as a laser being aimed from outside into a woman’s kitchen window, and a group of 20-year-olds who were lasing passersby including a man and his dog.

Because of aviation and other incidents last year, both police and the local Boardwalk Merchants’ Association (BMA) had asked stores to stop selling pointers. Some complied, or only sold lower-power red and yellow lasers. But since a few stores continued selling laser pointers, the competitive pressure caused others to resume sales. Ironically, one of the stores to resume sales was managed by the brother of the BMA’s president. The store listed the top selling items as being green laser pointers selling for $25 and $35. The manager said “he plans to continue selling them as long as they are legal to sell.”

To fix this, last November Ocean City’s state senator Jeff Van Drew introduced New Jersey Senate bill 2430, banning laser pointers above 1 milliwatt. This is five times less than the U.S. federal limit of 5 milliwatts as set by the Food and Drug Administration. S2430 is currently pending in the state Senate Commerce Committee.

From the Ocean City Patch.

Related LaserPointerSafety.com news stories about Ocean City and New Jersey laser troubles

US: Gun-shaped laser pointer confiscated

An interesting photograph shows a Virginia Beach mounted policeman confiscating a gun-shaped laser pointer from an 18-year-old. The teenager had aimed the gun/pointer at the officer and his horse. After a lecture and confiscation, the youth was released.


The accompanying story is primarily about a crackdown on curfew violators. Only the photo and its caption mentions laser pointer violations. The full-sized photo can be seen at the Virginian-Pilot website.

From Pilot Online.com. More information on gun-shaped laser pointers and other incidents involving gun/pointers is here.

US: Pointing laser at cars leads to chase, tasering

On June 2 2011, an Indiana motorist saw another driver aiming a green laser pointer at road signs and cars. He called police, who were able to locate and stop the vehicle. The driver, Jason David Clark, 32, ran and was tasered after jumping a fence. Inside the car, police found the laser pointer, suspected cocaine, and a pistol with blank cartridges.

Clark was arrested on a previous outstanding warrant, and now faces additional charges of cocaine possession and resisting arrest. It appears that no charges were brought against his laser pointing actions.

From the
Post-Tribune (Gary, Indiana)

US: $5,000 and 30 months probation for aiming at barges, planes, copter

44-year-old Todd Manz pleaded guilty on May 20 2011 to lying to FBI agents about a drunken night of aiming 50 milliwatt handheld lasers at river barges, airplanes and a police helicopter. He was fined $5,000 and received 30 months probation. He could have received up to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Manz and two others, David Erminger, 28, and Matthew Mauck, 34, were arrested July 20 2010 in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. From news reports, it appears the most serious incident involved river barges. U.S. District Court Judge Jon McCalla told Manz “You’re pointing a laser at a tugboat with 40 barges and chemicals on it and you could sink the tow. You could kill people, take out the bridge... [The tugboat captains] thought they were being targeted by someone with a high-powered rifle.”

Erminger and Mauck have not yet been sentenced on charges of crimes of violence against maritime navigation and sabotage of aircraft. Government prosecutors will be recommending diversion, a more mild form of probation.

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal

UPDATE: On June 22 2011, Erminger and Mauck were placed on one-year diversion. The criminal charges against them will be erased as long as they stay out of trouble (no new charges) during the next year. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

US: Motorist pulls over after laser attack

27-year-old Ryan S. McManus was charged with reckless endangerment, after repeatedly pointing a green laser at another driver, who at one point “swerved out of his lane and had to pull to the side of the road to avoid crashing.” The harassed driver followed McManus and called 911.

The incident took place in the small town of Greece, New York, in Monroe County. McManus will appear in Greece Town Court on May 25.

From the
Fairport - East Rochester Post and WHEC.com

Korea: Pop singer lased in eyes by fan during concert

Korean pop singer IU had a red laser aimed at her eyes during a concert. Stills taken from a video clearly show the light as it was waved across her eyes. Reportedly, “despite this, IU still managed to pull in her best effort and managed to finish her stage well.”



From Allkpop.com

Australia: Cars targeted in Melbourne

An unknown person targeted “a number of drivers” who said they were blinded by a laser pointer in the southeast section of Melbourne on May 3 2011. A constable said “We are very fortunate that there wasn't a collision as a result of this foolish behaviour.” There was no information about whether the laser user was stationary or was also driving.

From the Sydney Morning Herald

Australia: Man charged with selling, possessing laser pointers

A 29-year-old resident of Broken Hill, New South Wales, was arrested April 7 2011 after police found three laser pointers in a desk drawer in his home. He was charged with three counts of possession of a prohibited weapon, one count of advertising a prohibited weapon without stating that a permit was required, and one count of selling a prohibited weapon to an unauthorized buyer.

Police said that last December the man advertised a laser pointer for sale online, and sold it to a Sydney buyer in January. Inquiries then led to the April 7 arrest.

From the
Cowra Community News

US: Laser illumination sends officer to hospital

A 53-year-old man was arrested March 18 2011 after shining a laser at an officer who was driving a patrol car. The officer “was taken to a hospital to be treated for temporary blindness”, according to police in Gilroy, California.

Guy Bassett aimed the laser out of his trailer at the Gilroy Garlic USA RV Park. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, and with pointing a laser at an officer. He was also arrested on an unrelated misdemeanor charge of battery.

From the Gilroy Patch and KRON-TV

US: Motorist chased, arrested after lasing other cars

San Antonio police arrested a man who had been illuminating drivers with a laser pointer on March 15 2011.

The man was signaled to pull over by a plainclothes officer. He sped up instead and led the officer on a short chase through downtown. He was charged with drug possession and aggravated assault of a public servant.

From
KENS 5 TV

Australia: Bus driver has eye injury from passing motorist

A passing motorist aimed a laser at a Sydney bus driver, temporarily blinding his right eye. He “was forced to brake heavily to avoid colliding with a concrete barrier.”

News reports said the driver was “in visible pain.” A photo showed the driver on his stopped bus, holding his eye. He told paramedics he had “disturbed vision”. He was taken to Sydney Hospital and was released the next day, Saturday March 12 2011.

Police are looking for the perpetrator.

From the
Sunday Telegraph

Germany: Man charged with aiming at cars on highway

On March 2 2011, a 33-year-old man from Marienborn was arrested for aiming a laser pointer at passing cars on the A60 motorway. A patrol car was hit and was able to determine the man’s location. According to a machine translation, “...the man had felt in the anonymity of the skyscrapers seem fully secure. He stated that he wanted to reduce his aggression in this way.” (“...der Mann in der Anonymität der Hochhäuser scheinbar völlig sicher gefühlt. Er gab an, dass er auf diese Weise seine Aggressionen abbauen wollte.”)

He told interrogators that others “have often been blinded in the same way.”

From
Allgemeine Zeitung

US: Ohio man harasses radio station with green pointer

A 37-year-old man was charged with inducing panic and aggravated trespassing, after being caught on Feb. 21 2011 aiming a green laser pointer at the windows of radio stations WTAM-AM and WMMS-FM near Cleveland Ohio. He had also aimed at the stations’ windows two weeks earlier but was not caught on that date.

In addition to the laser harassment, the man also had “littered the entrance” to the stations with pornographic photos on Feb. 8

From
Cleveland.com

Greece: Protesters use laser pointer against police

Riot police have a laser pointer aimed at them, during protests in Greece on Feb. 8 2011. Click to see full-size photo. (See also this News item from 2008 Greek riots.)



From MSNBC Photoblog

Australia: NSW man arrested for possession after traffic incident

A New South Wales man was charged with “possessing a laser pointer in a public place.” The incident started when police were called by motorists in Kempsey reporting laser lights. The area was searched; a 19-year-old man was found with a laser pointer, and was arrested. A court date of March 7 2011 was set.

From a
New South Wales police force press release

Canada: Conviction in assault over laser pointer annoyance

On April 13, 2007, three moviegoers were “beaten and stabbed after they asked a group of males to stop disrupting a film with a laser pointer.” On Feb. 5 2011, one of the males was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm, and common assault. This follows a March 2010 guilty finding for another attacker.

A previous News item described the attack in more detail.

From the
Ottawa Citizen

Malaysia: Football players walk off to protest laser pen wielding fans

A football match in Kuala Lumpur between Indonesia and Malaysia was disrupted when Indonesian players walked out, “complaining about poor visibility after being shot by a number of laser beams from Malaysian supporters.” The game resumed eight minutes later “after a negotiation,” with Malaysia winning 3-0.

The incident happened during the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup finals first leg. In an earlier AFF Cup semi-final game against Malaysia, Vietnam’s players complained of fans’ laser interference as well.Click to read more...

US: 3 years in prison for injuring deputy

An Oregon man, Anton Strom, 24, was sentenced to three years in prison for causing permanent retinal scarring of a sheriff’s deputy’s left eye on July 17 2010. Strom aimed a “powerful, industrial grade” green laser pointer 423 feet across a parking lot at Deputy Glenn Howard, who now has a stronger corrective lens prescription in his left eye, and “his doctor said his vision may deteriorate further.”

Strom was charged with two counts of second-degree assault and one count of unlawful use of a weapon. He pled guilty to one second-degree assault count, as part of a plea bargain reducing his sentence from the minimum six years, to three years.

Howard testified that during the incident he feared for his life since lasers are often used on weapons. He “pulled his duty weapon and prepared to return fire.”

From OregonLive.com. Thanks to Daniel Hewett of the FDA for bringing this to our attention.

Italy: Pre-school hit twice, parents fearful

A pre-school in Rome was targeted twice by laser beams in a single month, sending students to the hospital for examinations both times. According to an Italian newspaper report, “the laser beam coming from outside the building hit them in the eyes, hurting them”. The exams showed “eyes puffy and watery, fortunately no serious injuries to the cornea.”

The school board president says that the laser could only have come from apartments overlooking the school, but “we do not know if it is the act of a madman or a child struggling with a dangerous toy.” Police are searching for the perpetrator.

After the second incident, teachers lowered the blinds in the classroom. The report also notes other “increasing” incidents where laser pointers are used against pilots and football (soccer) goalies.

From Corriere Della Sera, “Laser negli occhi dei bimbi”. Thanks to Alberto Kellner Ongaro for bringing this to our attention.

US: Injury reported from Casio-sourced 630mW diode

A laser hobbyist reported injuring himself with a 630mW “keychain” laser emitting at 445 nm. He had a brief, accidental exposure when he lost his grip on the laser and it crossed a mirror. It hit directly in his left eye. He reported being flashblinded for 30 seconds and had an afterimage for 10 minutes, with the center “as black as black could be”. The black spot stayed for about 12 hours.

More than two weeks after the accident, he reports “... there are no identifiable irregularities. I am certain there is permanent damage in the spot, but it is so far out in [my] peripheral vision, that it is just not noticeable. So I have officially ceased worrying about it. Lesson learned.”Click to read more...

Netherlands: Bus driver injured; 14-year-old arrested

(English translation of Dutch original)

On Sunday [Nov 21 2010] the police in Den Bosch arrested a 14-year-old boy who probably shone with a laser pen from his parental home, into the eyes of a bus driver.

The 46-year-old driver got a eye damage and had to stop the bus. The victim was treated in hospital. It is still unclear whether the injury is permanent.

A police spokeswoman has reported Monday. In the bedroom officers found the boy had approximately one hundred blanks [bullet blank rounds, which are illegal in Netherlands]. The boy was sent home after interrogation.

Dutch original story from De Telegraaf Binnenland, Nov. 22 2010
Thanks to Maurice Wortel for bringing this to our attention.

Netherlands: Eye injury leads to assault charge

(English translation of Dutch original)

EDE -Tuesday A 16-year-old student from Ede is arrested for assault by the police in his hometown. The boy would have shined a laser pointer in the face of a person working at his school and caused eye damage.

The 61-year-old victim was forced doctor's treatment because of injury. The police was warned by the school, and the 16-year-old Edenaar was arrested . The boy confessed and after hearing he was transferred to his parents pending a decision of justice.

The laser pen was confiscated.

Dutch original story from EdeStad.nl, Sept. 29 2010
Thanks to Maurice Wortel for bringing this to our attention.

New Zealand: Youths suspected of lasering cars die trying to escape police

New Zealand police, responding to a report of a person shining a red laser beam onto motorists, saw a vehicle speed off. The police gave chase with lights and siren. Although the police ended the chase quickly, the car continued speeding, crashed into a power pole, and flipped over to land on its roof. Two 20-year-olds died in the crash, two other passengers were hospitalized, and the 20-year-old driver fled the scene on foot.

The incident took place in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga late on Friday September 17.

From the
New Zealand police report and the New Zealand Herald

US: UPDATED - 5th grader suspended for shining laser pointer in class

A 10-year-old elementary school student was suspended for three days, for shining a laser pointer on a classroom white board. Two days were spent out of school, and one day in the principal’s office. In addition, she was required to take a violence-deterrence class.

Laser pointers are forbidden in schools under California Penal Code section 417.27(b): “No student shall possess a laser pointer on any elementary or secondary school premises unless possession of a laser pointer on the elementary or secondary school premises is for a valid instructional or other school-related purpose, including employment.”
Click to read more...

Switzerland: Boy injures self with 150 mW pointer

A 15-year-old Swiss boy severely damaged his vision after aiming the beam from a 150 mW green laser pointer at a mirror, and then reflecting it into his eyes multiple times to “create a ‘laser show’”. He suffered immediate blurred vision.

An examination two weeks later showed injuries to both retinas. There was severe vision loss in the left eye and 20/50 vision in the right. His left eye was injected with ranibizumab which helped improve vision to 20/25 after four weeks. The right eye improved on its own to 20/32.


The left eye clearly shows damage from a self-inflicted exposure to a 150 mW green laser pointer.

The report appeared in a letter published September 9 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

US: More than 30,000 lasers are "out of control" in Ocean City MD

(This is a link to the main story about out-of-control lasers in Ocean City, which appears here.)

Northern Ireland: Laser used by rioters against police

Irish rioters used a laser to try to blind police, according to the Daily Mail. Bullets and gasoline bombs were also used against the police. More than 80 officers were injured; there was no word about any eye injuries.


A full-size version of this photo is available at the Daily Mail link below.

From the Daily Mail

US: Laser pointer used against cars

Three men were arrested for shining a green laser pointer at motorists on the New York State Thruway, in Brutus (Cayuga County, NY). The men were in a truck and were arrested at a rest stop after “troopers received reports from other motorists.”

The men were charged with disorderly conduct.

From the
Syracuse Post-Standard

UK doctors: Laser pointer damages youth's eyes

A British teenager suffered burns and retinal damage, according to doctors writing in the June 8 2010 British Medical Journal. The youth aimed a “high powered” green diode laser pointer into his own eyes. Both eyes were damaged with 20/35 vision, although six months later vision had returned to 20/20.


The burn site on the youth’s right eye

Click to read more...

Thailand: Protester killed after aiming laser pointer at troops

An anti-government protester in Bangkok was shot and killed after shining a laser pointer at government troops. An eyewitness said “The man was two yards in front of me and took out a laser pointer and started beaming it at the soldiers. I thought it was a crazy thing to do, then he was hit. I felt debris, bits of him hitting me. He went down straight away. There was a bullet exit wound at the back of his head.”

From The Daily Mail online. Caution: graphic photograph of the dead protester.

========


Commentary from LaserPointerSafety.com: The soldier(s) most likely fired either due to the laser pointer provocation, or due to fearing that a weapon with a laser gunsight was being used. The laser pointer light could not harm the troops except possibly at close range if shone into the eyes. Of course, in a protest/street battle situation, soldiers are not going to know or care about the eye safety characteristics of laser pointers.

This is reminiscent of a
2005 case in Florida, where a man aimed a laser pointer at deputies and was shot and killed. It is unfortunate but understandable that those with weapons who are having a laser aimed at them may “shoot first and ask questions later.”

Italy: Lasers pointed at motorists

Italian motorists passing under a bridge on SS194, the Modica Pozzalo, have been “bombarded with beams of laser light”, according to the Ragusa News. “Heavy penalties are now at risk” for those involved.

From Ragusa News (in Italian)

Canada: "Lasergate" at hockey match

Calgary Flames hockey players were repeatedly distracted by having a green laser shined in their faces, during a Jan. 9 2010 game in Vancouver. According to the Toronto Star, “Flames coach Brent Sutter was fuming after the game calling the antics ‘ridiculous’.”

The CBC-televised game picked up the green light on several occasions. Arena security was unable to find the perpetrator. In the third period, the search was narrowed to a specific section and “the light show stopped,” but the person was not found.

A National Hockey League spokesman recommended criminal charges against anyone caught distracting players, due to the safety hazard.Click to read more...

Canada: Man stabbed trying to stop laser pointer at movie

22-year-old Zachary Ebel described in court how he was punched and stabbed at an Ottawa cinema, after complaining about a laser pointer being used to disrupt the movie. The attack took place April 13, 2007.

Ebel said his attackers were part of the same group of young men who had been disrupting the movie which he and his friends had gone to see. One member of the group had been waving a laser pointer at the screen, Ebel said.

“I asked them ‘who has the laser pointer, come on guys,’” said Ebel. “It was at that point someone stood up and asked me if I had a problem. I said, just stop using the laser pointer’ and walked back to my seat.”

After the movie, one of the group asked him to go outside. When Ebel refused, somewhere between 6 and 15 young men began punching him. He was stabbed three times after tackling two of six men who were kicking his best friend as he lay curled in the fetal position on the floor.

From the Ottawa Citizen

Italy: €15000 fine for laser in goalkeeper's eyes

Serie A football club Napoli have been fined 15,000 (about $22,000 USD) after their supporters shone a laser into the eyes of AC Milan goalkeeper Dida during a game on 28 October 2009.

From
FourFourTwo.com

US: Police shoot man aiming laser gunsight at them

In Reno, Nevada, police officers shot and critically injured a man who aimed a replica pistol's laser beam at them.

Officers responded to a report of a suicidal man with a gun. They ordered 44-year-old Charles James Bishop to drop the realistic-looking pistol. When he raised it towards them and the laser moved towards the officers, they fired.

More details from RGJ.com

US: Baseball players targeted with laser pointer

Two professional baseball players were targeted with a green laser pointer, during a July 25 2009 game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies. One of the players said he was “scared for his life”. Footage of the incident is at YouTube.Click to read more...

New Zealand: 60-year-old convicted of shining laser beams at ferries

A 60-year-old New Zealand man was found guilty of four counts of being a criminal nuisance by endangering the public. Bernard Westbrook Long aimed laser beams at Interisland ferries in the Tory Channel of Cook Strait on September 22 and October 12 2007. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service.

bernard westbrook long laser
300 hours of community service for shining lasers on ferries


The judge said that while Long could have caused “significant” harm, he no longer lived in a house overlooking the channel, so “the chance of reoffending was unlikely.”

From the Marlborough Express. There are additional stories about Long’s guilty plea from the New Zealand Herald; about prosecutors being upset due to Long being given bail despite having “an arsenal” of 30 guns, also from the New Zealand Herald; and about the trial where the defense said persons other than Long were using the laser, from the Marlborough Express.

UK: 3 arrested for aiming laser at -- ducks?

Three fishermen were arrested March 7 2009 in Reading, West Berkshire, for having laser pointers while night fishing. The men said they used the pens to frighten ducks away from their hooks. Police said they were arrested on suspicion of endangering aircraft a few weeks earlier. The men had fingerprints and DNA samples taken. One was released after two hours, the other two men were held at the station for ten hours. No charges were brought against the men.Click to read more...

US: Boy charged for shining laser at drivers

A Lake Forest Road boy faces charges for shining a green laser beam at motorists, including a Bay Village patrol officer. [Bay Village is in Ohio, 15 miles west of Cleveland.]

A motorist first called police at 9:40 p.m. Feb. 7, saying he had just seen a green laser beam in his car. He waited for police and pointed to the house where the light had come from. Officers talked to the home owner, who said his sons had a green laser. The boys denied shining the light at traffic. Police told the brothers not to shine the light at cars and searched their bedroom, but didn't find the laser.

About 7:30 p.m. the following evening, an officer on routine patrol was blinded by a green laser beam coming from a passing car. The patrolman stopped the car. It held one of the boys who has been warned the day before. The boy denied having the laser, but it was eventually turned over to police. Charges are pending, Chief David Wright said in a news release.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Scotland: Car driver distracted by green laser

The driver of an automobile reported being distracted by a green laser in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland according to police. They appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

More details at the BBC News website.

US: Arrest, jail for pointing laser at deputy

A 19-year-old was arrested and jailed for shining a laser pointer at a sheriff’s deputy.

On January 1 2009, a Hornbrook, California homeowner called the sheriff’s office about a man on the homeowner’s porch. “When deputies arrived and began to question Jonathan Lee Huellett, he allegedly pulled out a laser pointer and began shining it in the deputy’s face and on his chest. Huellett was arrested on suspicion of using the laser pointer on the deputy.” He spent the night in jail. He was released, but on January 3 was arrested again for resisting and obstructing a peace officer. [It is unclear from the story if this resulted from a separate incident, or was a charge from the original laser pointer incident.]

Four days later, when the news story was published, he remained in jail.

From the Redding (CA) Record Searchlight online, at www.redding.com

Greece: Laser pointer used during riot

During riots in Athens, a protester uses a laser pointer against a Greek riot policeman. (See also this News item from 2011 Greek riots.)



From
Wired and the Boston Globe (scroll down to photo #24 to see larger and read caption)

US: Laser hits college football player

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Zac Robinson was hit by a laser pointer during a game Nov. 15 2008 against the University of Colorado. Robinson had to take a timeout because he was distracted by the incident. Fortunately for Robinson, the following play was a 29-yard touchdown pass -- so there, CU fans!

The story here has a photo showing the pointer on his jersey and helmet. ESPN has a video which also shows the incident.

UK: "Laser lout" targets footballer

Football team Manchester United made a complaint to the Union of European Football Associations after Cristiano Ronaldo was zapped with a laser pen.

The Reds wizard was targeted during the warm-up and in the first half of United’s 1-1 Champions League draw in Lyon.

Manager Alex Ferguson, relieved at Carlos Tevez’s 87th-minute equaliser, said: “We reported it to UEFA. We noticed it before the game. They tried to deal with it but I don’t know how much longer it went on.”

Ronaldo made no comment about the incident, though he did not have one of his better nights on the pitch.

From The Sun (UK). The link has a video capture showing the footballer with a large green spot on his face.

UK: Up to 5 years in jail; bus and tennis incidents cited

The UK Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has warned that people found guilty of using laser pens to cause injury, can expect up to five years in prison. His statement comes after three Hampshire police officers were seriously injured when a beam temporarily blinded them.

They join many others who have fallen victim to a device that experts say is too dangerous to be used by the untrained.

At the Paris Indoor Tennis Open two weeks ago, the Australian Patrick Rafter became a victim. A laser beam shone by a spectator was directed at the player's face. The game had to be halted while he recovered. Other sportsmen and pop stars have been targeted too.

In South Yorkshire one bus company has recorded 32 separate incidents in the past month. Drivers say they have been picked out by people intent on causing an accident.Click to read more...

Australia: Readers comment on laser lout incident

Readers of the Melbourne Herald Sun commented on the “laser lout” incident at a football match. Some selected comments:

“This sort of madness just should not be tolerated - it is at best a risk or blinding an individual, yes, just even a Joe Citizen: at worst it could bring down a plane. Typical of all our soft governments - and our soft judiciaries.”

“A laser in the eyes can permanently blind, these brain dead individuals are not just louts or plain footy fans they are criminals and should be treated as such.... Why the hell does anyone need to carry around a laser light ? They are of no legitimate use to an idiot, except to cause nuisance, they should be classed a concealed weapon and treated accordingly.”

“The practice of directing laser beams at aircraft is incredibly dangerous as is the potential of using these beams in any other situation. There were reports of the same thing happening to footballers at the weekend. The penalties suggested going to the Senate today are insufficient to say the least and should not only cover aircraft but any use of these lasers intended to injure other people.”

Additional comments are at the Melbourne Herald Sun article.

Australia: Lasers banned at football game; jail possible

Football [soccer] fans caught shining laser lights into players' faces during matches will be booted out of grounds.

The league has vowed to work with police and venues to crack down on the problem following at least two incidents in Friday night's Richmond-Collingwood clash.

"The AFL will work with police and our venues to ban anyone caught using laser lights to distract players during the course of a match," said league operations manager Adrian Anderson.

"It's unacceptable for players in a contact sport having something shine in their eyes while playing the game.

A sharp jump in the number of lasers aimed into aircraft cockpits has sparked new laws to allow offenders to be jailed.
The draft laws will be put before the Senate today. The legislation comes as Transport Minister Mark Vaile reported there had been 170 laser incidents in 2007 and the dangerous practice was happening more often.
Click to read more...

US: Florida man aims laser at deputies, is shot dead

A Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man who had been pointing a laser at a group of deputies early this morning [Feb. 4 2005], WTSP-10 News reports. Thomas Setzer, 24, was said to have aimed the laser from the second floor of an apartment building. The shooting occurred as the deputies went to the apartment to investigate.

Concerned they were being targeted by a laser-sighted weapon, a deputy trained a spotlight on a second-floor window at the adjacent Boardwalk Apartments, and the laser stopped. Then the beam appeared again, this time focusing on the deputies' bodies and tracking them as they walked.

Deputies drove to the apartments to investigate. Within minutes, the man they say pointed the laser was dead.
Click to read more...

UK: Youths sentenced for train attack

20-year-old Philip Pearse was sentenced to six months in a young offenders' institute, and an unnamed 16-year-old was made to serve 140 hours of community punishment, after shining red lasers at trains as they pulled into Newport station in South Wales. They were convicted on two charges of endangering the safety of railway passengers.

Drivers Michael Jonah and Timothy Reiffer suffered temporary blindness, but managed to bring their trains safely to a halt.

Cardiff Crown Court was told that the safety of hundreds of commuters was jeopardised and the cost of the disruption was put at £13,000.Click to read more...

US: 3-car accident in Springfield Missouri said to be caused by laser light

A case where laser light caused a vehicular accident is described in a February 23 1999 ordinance filed in Springfield, Missouri.

Ordinance 4880 has an attached “Explanation to Amended Council Bill No. 99-61” which gives some reasons for the city’s restrictions on laser use and possession. One of the “local abuses” cited is the following:

  • “Another offense includes a three-car collision, where a young man pointed a laser light into the car ahead of him and startled the driver, causing him to slam on his brakes and cause a pileup.”


US: Fatal Calif. car accident partially blamed on laser pointer

The following text in blue is from an Associated Press report dated Wednesday, December 30 1998:

Laser May Have Caused Calif. Crash

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (AP) - Authorities detained a man accused of weaving in and out of
traffic at nearly 100 mph and shining a laser pointer, leading to a five-car wreck that
killed four teen-agers.

The California Highway Patrol would not say Tuesday night whether Scott Davis, 34, had been arrested. He crashed through a glass window of a San Jose home as authorities arrived to question him, Oakland TV station KTVU reported.

Davis was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, but a hospital spokeswoman would not comment.

Davis is believed to be the driver of a car that was speeding on Highway 101 late Monday. Witnesses said the driver was shining a laser pointer into other cars before the vehicle collided with a pickup, leading to the pileup.

All four occupants of one car - Charo Ursua, 19, Kevin Owens, 16, Janette Alvarado, 15,
and Michael Zaches, 17 - were killed.

Law enforcement officials partially blamed the accident on the laser pointer, made as an aid for business presentations and teachers. The Food and Drug Administration warned a year ago that the pointers could be more damaging to the eyes than staring at the sun.


A separate SFGate article, still available online as of February 2016, stated: “CHP [California Highway Patrol] investigators were trying to find out what role, if any, the laser pointer may have played in the crash. The pointers shine a bright dot and can cause a momentary loss of vision. ‘That's what's been going on with these laser lights with this craze the past six months,’ the CHP's DiSalvo said. ‘A lot of people use them to try to put fear in other people. . . . Some guns have these laser lights.’