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Man in Portland charged with felonies for laser activity

Many people understand that felony charges are reserved for the most serious of crimes. People know that these include murder and other violent crimes, sex crimes and weapons charges. However, people may not be aware that there are a lot of different types of felonies. Some of these felony charges can even apply when no one is physically hurt by another person's conduct.

For example, in Portland, a 39-year-old man has been charged with two felonies for supposedly pointing a laser pointer at airplanes. According to police, the man pointed a powerful green laser at airplanes as they were trying to land. These lasers, according to reports, can point at objects up to 25,000 feet away and have the power to temporarily blind a person. Police say in these instances, the man pointed the laser at JetBlue and United flights before returning to his home to listen to police scanners for reports.

Police claim that the man admitted to pointing a laser at the planes around 25 times. Police also allege that the man said he did this for thrills and excitement. However, the man has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The court has ordered a mental health evaluation.

This man is the first adult to be charged with pointing lasers at a commercial airplane in Oregon. However, Portland airport has reported 127 laser incidents so far this year and 100 in 2012.

While this may not be a felony that many people think about, these felonies still has very real consequences. If this man is found guilty, the man could be sentenced to a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison. Furthermore, the FAA has a fine of $11,000 for being caught shining lasers into a plane.

Source: Statesman Journal, "Man says he didn't point laser at planes," Gosia Wozniacka, Oct. 21, 2013

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