FBI to offer bounty program for laser attacks

FBI to offer bounty program for laser attacks

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The FBI is launching a reward program in New York and other cities to deter people from pointing lasers at aircraft.

Incidents of pilots being targeted with lasers is up more than 1,100 percent since 2005 according to the feds. There were nearly 4,000 incidents alone in 2013.

As part of the 60-day pilot program, the FBI will offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of any individual who aims a laser at an aircraft.

The FBI will also be working with state and local law enforcement to educate teens about the dangers associated with lasers.

“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a serious matter and a violation of federal law,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions.”

Laser attacks can temporarily blind a pilot.

Pointing lasers at aircraft in flight poses a serious safety risk to the traveling public,” said Air Line Pilots Association International President Captain Lee Moak.

Many of the New York laser incidents have injured pilots and their crews. The latest injury was reported on December 26, 2013, by a JetBlue pilot on approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The pilot experienced blurry vision for more than a week after being temporarily blinded by a laser.

“Laser incidents are often viewed as harmless acts; this couldn’t be further from the truth,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos.

Other FBI field offices besides New York that are participating in the program include Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Juan, and the Washington Field Office. The FBI wants tipsters to call their local FBI office if they have information about a laser incident.

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