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Man faces charges after targeting a helicopter with a laser

A Wilmington man is facing a felony charge after shining a laser on the police helicopter. Around 8:30 Saturday night, the sable helicopter pilot reported the chopper was being targeted by a laser around the area of Hinton and Park avenues. The laser was shining in the pilot's eyes. SABLE used infrared technology to locate the suspect, Nicholas Lexton Wheeler. The man was standing in the backyard of a home on Park Avenue. Police arrested Wheeler and charged him with interference with a flight crew. He was released on bond. The FAA has been notified.

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My cat is now filing charges

My cat is now filing charges against me because of this article, for running him into the wall several times with my laser pen. When will it end?

The pilot could have crashed

The pilot could have crashed if the laser had gotten in his eyes or with the glare on the glass. So playing with a cat is definatley a whole different thing and is no comparison to people who could get killed in the event this chopper fell to the ground. Grow up!


This is the laser companies fault. They should put a notice on the packaging that says "It is illegal to point laser at air craft." I say laser dude should sue the laser company and get thousands like the "hot coffee at McDonald's" lady.


You must be a Democrat.

No, if he was a Democrat...

...he'd be demanding that the production of laser pens be outlawed, and that we register all laser pens currently in existence.


It's called sarcasim. Look it up.


Actually, it's called 'Sarcasm'. Look it up.

I really don't see how a

I really don't see how a laser pointer could interfere with an aircraft, maybe a large industrial one, but not a small one. Seems like the authorities are simply going out of their way to make criminals of ordinary citizens who sometimes do what seems to them harmless things during the course of normal daily lives. There are lots of laws that make no sense that you can be arrested and fined for violating, but do not protect anyone against anything.

laser interference

The pilots of law enforcement helicopters in particular are often looking at the ground to provide back up for officers below. The man with the laser pointer did not wave the pointer around, but he twice aimed it directly at the helicopter without wavering. Clearly a stupid move on his part. He's not an "ordinary citizen," he's an "ordinary lawbreaker." Do ordinary citizens really stand out in their backyards and aim laser pointers at helicopters? Yikes.

Laser Dude

You asked about infrared sensativity.. Its over-sensitive. That's the point.. The pilot might not have noticed if he was not utilizing "night vision" Be interesting to see how it plays out in court.. Was it willful or just plain stupidity? Did he know it would interfer or was he just playng around? And yes.. Was it a $2 toy or was it off of a sight.. Regardless.. Stupid move on laser dudes part.

Lots of these stories

But this one lacks detail. A laser scope? A pen laser pointer? What type of laser? Many times, these cases turn out to be someone doing something stupid with non-weapons and getting in trouble for it. Similar to some punk yelling "fire!" or even "gun!" in a public place. Still, more details are needed. Andrew

Um, why does it matter what

Um, why does it matter what type of laser it was? Weapon or not he broke the law. Just like when someone goes into a store and has their finger under their jacket and says, "give me all the money or I'll shoot you," he is guilty of armed robbery, even though he didn't actually have a weapon. By the way, yelling "fire!" or "gun!" in public is also against the law, for inciting to cause riot or panic.

Not Guilty!

All anyone has heard is the police side of the story. The evidence of the infrared camera isn't the actual event. They are quick in this instance to get on the TV stations and newspapers with their side, but is it correct and what about this guy? He hasn't had his day in court or been able to tell his side of what happened. What if he didn't do it? What will this cost him and his family financially and in reputation by the time it is decided? Cops do make mistakes just like ordidnary citizens. I give him the benefit of the doubt til proven guilty, do YOU? Ordinary Citizen


No, I don't give him the benefit of the doubt. The way I see it, SABLE was able to track the guy with the laser and lead LEO straight to him. I have no doubt he did what he did.

It matters to some degree

A person who was using a laser scope, especially if attached to a weapon, should receive far more harsh treatment by the legal system than some dolt thinking he's doing something funny by pointing a laser pen pointer at the helicopter. Additionally, an even lower level of harshness should be placed on the individual if they are outside waving a laser tag toy gun around (how sensitive are the devices that detect the lasers?) and playing with their kid. The sky is hugh and it's a little difficult to say "I was waving my laser pen pointer around in the air, trying to make a point to someone, and it just happened to have hit the helicopter. I didn't mean to do it." Still it's possible. Andrew


First of all, of course it will be taken into account that this was perhaps less malicious than if it were attached to a heat-seeking rocket launcher. But the fact remains that he intentionally broke the law, in a very stupid way. And no, it's not possible that this was a case where he was waving a toy or a laser pen around in the air and it happened to cross the path of the helicopter. This guy was following the helicopter with the laser for quite a while, long enough for them to get a track on him. So he knew full well what he was aiming it at. Anyway, my point was that I felt you were missing the bigger picture by being caught up in wanting to know the details.

I disagree

Any moron over the age of 5 knows that you aren't supposed to point a laser light for risk of damaging your eyesight. Pointing a laser at the pilot of a helicopter or airplane is either stupid beyond all belief or flat out malicious. How would YOU like to have an airplane crash into your living room because the pilot went blind by some dolt fooling around? Would you expect a little slap on the wrist to the "dolt" who was just goofing off with his new toy? Yeah... I thought not.

Laser Idiot

Have you ever had a laser pointed at you in the dark?. Try driving down the road and someone point one at you. If you don't wreck your car you are lucky. Lasers are dangerous period!! It is not meant to be shined into the eyes of anything, but people still do it. Then they wonder gee, I can't see now.

I think the crime he was

I think the crime he was charged with pretty much tells us that he was not using a weapon w/a laser scope. He was charged with interfering with a flight crew. Had he pointed a weapon at the helicopter, he would have also been charged w/ assualt on an officer, assualt w/ a deadly weapon, assault by pointing a gun, etc. And this is a serious crime due to the possibility of distracting the pilot, causing him to crash his aircraft. I'd imagine it's pretty difficult to see with a laser beam hitting you in the face.

It doesn't matter at all

He's charged with interfering with a flight crew. That's the same charge levied against anyone who is drunk or disorderly on a commercial airliner, and refuses to cooperate with the flight attendants. The specific manner or tool of interference is inconsequential. The only elements of proof required are that the defendent's actions did cause the flight crew to be distracted from their normal duties and that the distraction potentially jeopardized the safe operation of the aircraft.


WHAT AN IDIOT! NOW he is a FELON for being STUPID!

Glad to see those hard

Glad to see those hard earned tax payer's dollars at work. In the history of mankind, how many aircraft have been damaged or crashed due to a laser pointer?

Well when it does happen...

If and when a plane crashes due to a pilot being blinded by a laser pointer, I sincerely hope that you are the pilot and sole occupant so no one else has to suffer from the stupidity of your need to learn lessons the hard way.