Unusual Crimes

Dallas FBI takes aim at laser pointer crime

Dallas FBI takes aim at laser pointer crime

It's already a federal crime to direct a laser pointer at a plane, but a recent increase in activity has prompted the FBI to step up enforcement.

For the next three months, the FBI will offer a $10,000 reward for information on laser pointer crimes in 56 cities, including Dallas.

"Since the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration began tracking laser strikes in 2005, data shows a more than 1,100 percent increase in the deliberate targeting of aircraft by people with handheld lasers," the FBI said in a statement. 

Dallas officials reported 90 so-called "lasing crimes" in 2013, compared to 25 incidents in El Paso; 149 in San Antonio and 155 in Houston. According to the FBI, the strikes occur between midnight and 7 am and are usually committed either by teens or adults between the ages of 35-45. 

"The expansion of this campaign will promote greater awareness and understanding of the threat that lasing poses to pilots and the public," Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Diego Rodriguez said.

Federal law classifies knowingly aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft as a felony offense. It carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under Texas state law, the action is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. 

Anyone with information on a laser pointing crime is asked to call the Dallas FBI at 972-559-5000 or 911. 

Laser Pointer
Laser pointers can be used to commit felonies. Photo via Winnpeg Crime Files
Laser pointer hits plane
A laser pointer is blinding to pilots at night. Photo via Runway Aviation