FBI uses Missouri case to highlight danger of laser pointers to aircraft

Monday, July 25, 2011 | 1:17 p.m. CDT; updated 7:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 25, 2011

ST. LOUIS — The FBI is using a St. Louis-area case to highlight the danger of aiming a laser pointer at aircrafts.

At a news conference Monday at the FBI's St. Louis office, 26-year-old Justin Stouder talked about the incident that got him into trouble.

In April 2010, Stouder and a friend were in his yard in O'Fallon playing with a laser pointer that Stouder aimed at a helicopter. It turned out to be a police helicopter a mile and a half away.

Pilot Doug Reinholz said the laser grows as it gets farther from the source, and the light was blinding. He was able to turn away and avoid crashing, then turned a spotlight on Stouder's home. Stouder was arrested but avoided prosecution, though he had to go through a year of probation.

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