Indicted for Pointing Laser at Police Helicopter
DENVER - A Denver man appeared in court Friday on charges of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, federal prosecutors said.
The indictment, which a federal grand jury returned on July 2, alleges that twice on April 19, 2013, and once on April 20, 2013, Nathan Finneman aimed the beam of a laser pointer at a Bell helicopter operated by the Denver Police Department.
"The police helicopter, known as 'Air One,' was able to use equipment on board to identify the source of the laser pointer," according to a statement released Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Finneman, now 26, of Denver, faces up to five years' imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine per count for each of his three counts if convicted.
He appeared in a Friday hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Boyd Boland at 1:30 p.m.
"Pointing a laser at the pilot of a helicopter or airplane not only puts the pilot and passengers of the aircraft at risk, it exposes the public on the ground to the danger of an emergency landing or even a crash," U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a statement. "What might seem like a harmless prank is far from it - laser blinding of pilots is a serious and dangerous crime that we will prosecute."