FBI offers new incentive to combat growing trend of lasing

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Updated: 6/03 4:53 pm
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- It's an increasing problem, both in Nevada and across the nation: plane cockpits being targeted for laser pens, or 'lasing.'

What is 'lasing?' A laser pointer is directed toward the cockpit of an airplane during take-off or landing and the dispersion of light causes severe problems. "You're coming in for your landing and the pilot becomes blind, temporarily," says FBI Special Agent Sean Jolley.

Since the FBI started tracking these cases eight years ago, there has been a one thousand-percent increase in lasing across the United States. Just under four thousand incidents were reported last year, with 103 of those occurring in Nevada.

"Some of these people are young folks, teenagers, maybe think it is a game," says Jolley.

Jolley continues by saying only 90 people have gone to jail for lasing in the last two years. As a result, the FBI is going to great lengths to offer incentive toward the capture of perpetrators -- anyone with information leading to the arrest of a lasing perpetrator will receive $10,000. Currently, the maximum fine for lasing is $1,100 and perpetrators can expect jail time, if prosecuted.

"We would like to see [the number of arrests] go up. That is part of the awareness campaign here, we like to see people become aware we don't want to see one of these planes go down," says Jolley.

No plane has crashed yet as a result of lasing, but Jolley is confident it's only a matter of time.
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