SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of pointing a laser at an Orange County Sheriff’s Department helicopter patrolling over San Juan Capistrano Wednesday night, Jan. 10.
Video shot from the helicopter dubbed Duke 1 captured a man standing outside his car deploying the laser multiple times while the helicopter flew overhead around 7:30 p.m., the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Thursday.
Pilots kept tabs on the man, guiding deputies on the ground to his location as he drove toward the 5 freeway, the statement says.
The suspect identified as Farhad Naghipour, of Irvine, was arrested without incident on suspicion of felony discharging a laser at an aircraft.
Lasers pose a danger to helicopter pilots, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
“If the laser shot hits the glass of an aircraft in just the right way, the light refracts, illuminating the inside of the aircraft and potentially disorienting the pilots,” the statement says “The beam can cause retina damage, headaches and flash-blindness.”
Several people have been convicted in Orange County of pointing a laser at an aircraft, which is a federal offense.
Also, in March 2015, a man was sentenced to 14 years in prison after pointing a laser at a Fresno police helicopter.
SantasDead: >Also, in March 2015, a man was sentenced to 14 years in prison after pointing a laser at a Fresno police helicopter.