Man sentenced to 30 months in prison after “lasering” two aircraft in 2012
In October, 19-year-old Adam Gardenhire pled guilty to aiming a laser pointer at a private aircraft and a police helicopter. On Monday, a federal judge in California sentenced the defendant to 30 months in prison.
Aiming such a laser at an aircraft is now a federal crime under a law signed by President Barack Obama in February 2012. Gardenhire is believed to be the second person anywhere in the United States sentenced under the new law. In addition to the 19-year-old, four more Californians have been indicted on similar charges this month. (The first person sentenced under the new law was a Florida man, who was sentenced to six months, in August 2012.)
The North Hollywood man pointed a “commercial-grade green laser” at the two aircraft on March 29, 2012, causing the Cessna pilot to “suffer vision impairment that lasted for hours.” The Pasadena Police Department helicopter pilot, meanwhile, “was wearing protective gear and did not suffer eye damage or vision impairment as a result of the laser,” according to a statement the Office of the United States Attorney Central District of California sent to Ars.
Less than a month after the incident, Gardenhire was arrested following an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, the Pasadena Police Department, the Burbank Police Department, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the FBI.