You almost feel bad for Adam Gardenhire, an 18-year-old North Hollywood kid.
He aimed his laser at “multiple aircraft” last month, authorities allege, and now he faces one of the first tests of a new federal law that bans such retardation.
It sound harmless, but pilots have been complaining that more and more lasers, often via young men on the ground with hobby pointers, are temporarily blinding them in the not-so-friendly skies:
The FBI says that on the night of March 29 Gardenhire hit an airborne Cessna with his “commercial-grade” green laser and then zapped a Pasadena police helicopter that responded to the plane's radio complaint.
Unfortunately for the teen, President Obama signed a federal law just two months ago that bans pointing lasers at aircraft. The FBI states:
Reports of laser attacks have increased dramatically in recent years as laser devices have become more affordable and widely available to the public. In addition, technology has advanced the effectiveness of laser devices, with a resulting increase in the potential safety hazards for pilots operating aircraft and their passengers and crew. Such safety hazards include temporary distraction and impaired vision, which is particularly dangerous during the critical takeoff or landing phase of flight. In addition, pilots have reported the need to abort landings or relinquish control of the aircraft to another pilot as a result of laser attacks. California consistently leads the nation in reports of laser attacks. Over 3,500 laser attacks were reported in 2011.
Gardenhire was tracked down that night by the LAPD and Pasadena cops, feds say. He was arrested but soon bailed out. Late yesterday the FBI announced that he's back behind bars after a federal grand jury hit him Tuesday with two counts of laser pointing.
On his Facebook page Tuesday Gardenhire said he was heading to Twin Towers Correctional Facility downtown:
Twin towers tomorrow… Not looking forward !!!:/ whats poppin though?=)
The FBI says the teenager could see 10 years behind bars if he's convicted. The FAA might also ask him to fork over some cash.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told the Weekly Gardenhire is only the second person ever charged under the new law (the first was an Orlando, Florida man, Glenn Stephen Hansen).
Gardenhire's a true pioneer, L.A. style.