FBI agents arrested a Long Island man on Wednesday for allegedly pointing a laser at a commercial airliner and a police helicopter last summer.
Angel Rivas, 33, of Shirley, shine the laser pointer at a plane heading to Kennedy Airport on August 21, 2012, authorities said. He then pointed the laser at a Suffolk County police helo sent up to investigate the first incident, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.
"Laser pointers aimed at aircraft pose many dangers, including disrupting the vision of pilots," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "The safety of American air travelers has been and will continue to be a priority for law enforcement."
Investigators said the laser beam came from Rivas's home.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, the Suffolk County Police Department, and the Port Authority Police Department were all involved with the investigation that led to the arrest of Rivas, Lynch's office said.
Rivas was arraigned in federal court on Long Island on Wednesday. A magistrate released him on $10,000 bond, the AP reported.
His public defender did not comment on the case.
Although no one was hurt, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos said Rivas endangered the lives of passengers, crew, and, potentially, people on the ground.
"Pointing a laser at an aircraft is not a prank; it is a federal crime with penalties befitting its seriousness," Venizelos said in a statement.