make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Man who shines laser at SABLE helicopter arrested

It was a dark night on Saturday, but while the SABLE flight crew helped police survey the scene of a domestic violence dispute, a laser light, that could have blinded the crew or caused the helicopter to crash, stole their attention. No SABLE flight crew had ever been targeted by a laser light before Saturday. While it could have blinded the pilot, quick thinking and new technology helped police find Nicholas Wheeler around Hinton and Park avenues. The pilot used the night vision binoculars, which would protect his eyes from damage, to locate the source of the light. The technical officer then used SABLE's infrared camera to locate Wheeler and lock on to the signal until police on the ground were able to find him. Kenneth Timms, WPD’s chief pilot said, “Anything out there that produces heat we can pick up with the thermal imaging system, and even if it's pitch black out there we can find a suspect who is lying down on the ground.” Timms said WPD doesn't use the technology just to catch the bad guys; the same tools can be used to find missing children and Alzheimer’s patients. Just recently SABLE helped locate a hiker who had injured himself in the woods and was unable to get to safety. Timms said while laser pointers are not illegal in North Carolina, it is illegal to shine them at an aircraft. Wheeler could face federal charges for his interference with a flight crew.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


You people are goofy. You

You people are goofy. You sound like your looking for someone to lynch. You people, the average folks, are the ones who scare me the most! Not these so-called criminals. These hords of criminals supposedly pouring accross our countryside like some flood. Don't tell me, your all Fox news watchers and have never done anything stupid before. You know, your all thrilled at the level of technology of our military and law enforcement. Well, what if they turned that technology on you, on us? What would we do? See you dimwits, not a damn one of you focus on the part of the story that is important. All you see is "Hey everybody there is a lone victim we can all gang up on.


SABLE wins again. Keep up the good work.


I am completely appalled at the number of people here who think it's "ok" to goof off and shine laser pointers at aircraft. My mind is going numb trying to comprehend how this country can be so full of stupid, ignorant, short-sighted idiots. I had thought that even the common idiot over the age of 5 knows better than to shine lasers at people for safety reasons (OMG? There are PEOPLE flying those aircraft? Looking out their WINDOW no less?). Apparently I was mistaken. That... or this forum is full of brain dead zombies.

Great way to catch the bad guy

WPD SABLE flight crew keep up the good work. Do whatever it takes to make this place safe. Even those who want to use laser illegal or not they should not interfere.

Just another example of

Just another example of police showing their power and authority, as well as their equipment to intimidate ordinary citizens.

Intimidate ordinary citizens?

I'd like to think ordinary citizens don't break the law and aren't standing outside with a laser pointer aimed at a police helicopter just to see what will happen. This person was not just waving it around outside, he had it pointed on the helicopter & knew very well what it was aimed at.

The guy on the ground

The guy on the ground started the chain of events that got him arrested by pointing a laser at an aircraft. The police didn't just randomly pick someone to harass. He had a laser pointer, and pointed it at a police aircraft decked out with all the latest technology. I'd say he brought a knife to a gunfight, a fight that he started. We're not dealing with a rocket scientist here.

Not quite

Yea, those mean old police officers doing what we pay them to do. What the hell were they thinking? They should just let everybody do as they please.

crime is everywhere

If you read the news crime is everywhere,even ordinary citizens are now becoming victims. You never know when its your turn, appreciate the power,authority and the equipment they have oh unless you are on the opposite team .

Chances are the guy was just

Chances are the guy was just messing with the laser and the plane happened to fly into the path of it. I doubt if he intentionally pointed the laser at the plane. Just another case of making a big to do about nothing.


Are you Serious???? "A big to do about nothing" What if the aircraft had crashed? Then what? You are just as warped as Wheeler! You know he did that intentionally and he should pay the price for being so stupid.

Laser pointer

So, now we know, it was a laser pointer. It's not described as part of a weapon, and it's not illegal to own one. One heck of a powerful laser pointer if it can blind someone at any distance such as a helicopter in air. I wonder if dippity-dumb-dumb was involved with the domestic violence case or if they were just being plain stupid and thought it was fun or funny. It's kinda as stupid as some fool telling an airport security guard "I don't have a bomb." and getting arrested for it. Andrew

Any laser pointer can blind

Any laser pointer can blind or do serious damage to eyes if shined into them. If you ever look at the packaging, it has warnings to that effect all over it. A laser is a highly concentrated light which can travel far distances until it hits something in its path. That's why it is also a FEDERAL offense to shine a laser at an aircraft. Don't suppose it would have been that funny if it did disrupt the pilot to the point that he was unable to accomplish his mission or worse yet, crashed the helicopter. You are right by saying that guy was stupid, though.