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Scotland: Clydebank man aims laser at moving police car, gets 18+ months

Kevin Ayre, 30
Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland


On September 20 2017, Ayre was sentenced to 18 months in jail for aiming a green laser beam at a police car driving on Kirkton Avenue in Knightswood, Glasgow. On August 31 2017, he had admitted in court to culpably and recklessly, repeatedly pointing the laser pen at a moving police car causing the driver to become distracted and to the danger of the officers in the car. He also admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice by giving police false information when he was detained.

The laser incident occurred March 6 2016, at about 1:20 am. Officers in a marked car saw green light in their car. According to a prosecutor, “The rear windscreen was a dazzling green color. The sergeant who was driving felt distracted and alarmed and immediately stopped the vehicle on the road.”

The officers could tell the light came from the 13th floor of a 23-story apartment building, but could not determine exactly which apartment. Other offices arrived to help and eventually saw a man with an object emitting a bright green light in one of the windows. Ayre was arrested in the apartment. He gave police a false name of “Kriss Ayre” and a false birthdate.

During interrogation at the police station, he acknowledged using the laser and giving false information.

He later was arrested for other crimes, including stalking a woman while on bail for the laser offense, throwing glass bottles onto a sidewalk, and skipping a December 2016 court appearance.

For the stalking and glass-throwing incidents, on October 6 2017 Ayre was given an extra 130 days, to be served after his 18 month sentence from Glasgow Sheriff Court is up.

From the Clydebank Post, Evening Times and Planet Radio.com

US: Probation for Tulsa man who aimed at police helicopter 11 times

Jay Scott Howell, 53
Tulsa, Oklahoma, US


Howell was sentenced on July 10 2017 to one year of probation, despite sentencing guidelines recommending an 18-24 month prison sentence.

On December 29 2016, JHowell aimed the laser 11 times at the helicopter. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 7 2017 on one count of aiming the laser. The maximum penalty is up to five years in federal prison and/or up to a $250,000 fine.

Howell pleaded guilty on April 10 2017 to the charge.

While U.S. sentencing guidelines recommended an 18-24 month prison term, the judge sentenced Howell to one year of probation. The judge cited Howell’s age (53), limited criminal history and remorse for his actions. The prosecuting U.S. attorney did not object to the sentence, telling the judge “He’s the perfect candidate. I don’t anticipate ever seeing Mr. Howell again.”

If probation is revoked, Howell could serve up to the maximum sentence of five years.

Germany: Eight months for aiming laser at aircraft, police helicopter

Unnamed man, 49
Zossen, Brandenburg, Germany


A 49-year-old German man was sentenced May 31 2017 to eight months in prison for aiming a laser at a police helicopter.

In August 2016, several aircraft flying in or out of Berlin Schönefeld Airport reported glare from a laser beam A police helicopter was sent to investigate, and was also hit by laser light.

The unnamed perpetrator later said in court he had not been aiming at anything specific in the night sky, and that he did not see the helicopter.

He was sentenced in Zossen (Brandenburg) District Court; Zossen is about 20 miles south of Berlin.

From Spiegel Online in original German and in Google-translated English. Thanks to Alex Hennig for bringing this to our attention.

US: Suspended sentence and $1,000 fine for Calif. man

Asarel Felix Lombera, 28
Fontana, California, US

On February 21 2015. Asarel Felix Lombera used a $20 green laser pointer to track an Ontario, California police helicopter for about 15 seconds. The light entered the cockpit and momentarily dazed a crew member.

In February 2017 Lombera pleaded guilty. In his plea agreement, he said he was aware that what he did was dangerous and distracting. At sentencing in May, Lombera received a probationary sentence of community service and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

From The Daily Bulletin

US: Three years in prison for Kansas City man who aimed a laser at a police helicopter

Jordan Clarence Rogers, 26
Kansas City, Missouri, US


Rogers was sentenced on January 17 2017 to three years in federal prison without parole.

On October 28 2013, Rogers aimed a laser three times at a Kansas City (Missouri) Police Department helicopter. The pilot had “eye strain” for several hours after the incident.

Rogers was indicted on the laser charge on August 26 2014. He pleaded guilty on September 8 2016 to one felony count.

At sentencing, federal prosecutors said that Rogers had an extensive history of criminal activity including drug and property crimes, which should be a factor in a longer 4-year sentence.

Rogers’ attorney said the sentence should be shorter. While Rogers knew it was illegal to aim a laser at an aircraft, “he had no knowledge of the highly scientific manner in which a laser endangers an airplane.”

In a sentencing memorandum, he attorney wrote “The average person would believe that a laser beam hitting an aircraft would cause a small spot to appear on the aircraft or in the cockpit, much like shining a laser beam at a wall. It is not common knowledge that the laser actually increases with size as it extends, and that the glass of the cockpit can expand the light further, causing it to light up the entire cockpit.”

From KY3.com, the Kansas City Star, and an article by Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica with additional links to legal materials.

US: $13,241 plus 15 days jail for aiming blue laser at ferry crew (could have been $100,000+)

Mark Raden, 27
Freeland, Washington state, US


On December 27 2016 the U.S. Coast Guard assessed a civil penalty of $9,500 against Raden 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.