Overland Park teen caught flashing green laser at pilots - KCTV5

Overland Park teen caught flashing green laser at pilots

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

A teen boy found himself in trouble after he was caught flashing his green laser light at pilots and neighbors.

Overland Park police investigating a noise complaint on June 1 discovered the teen at a nearby home flashing the laser. The teen admitted he had flashed the light at pilots landing at New Century Airport in Olathe where dozens of flights take off and land every day.

"The teenager thought it was innocent, but quickly learned that type of action can carry federal charges," according to a news release from the Overland Park Police Department. "These lasers, which can be purchased for as little as $20, can cause permanent eye damage."

Last month, the pilot reported to authorities that someone flashed a green laser. This occurred as the pilot was about 4,000 feet up over Overland Park.

The pilot helped authorities narrow down the location. It was the third time that week a pilot had reported such an episode, Overland Park police said.

"It's not like pointing a red laser and playing with a cat," Overland Park police Officer Michelle Koos said. "This is much more serious."

Officers explained the danger to the teen.

"Because of the range these laser lights can reach, it can be tempting to take aim at a passing plane, but, be warned, this is a very bad idea," Overland Park police say.

Koos said in less than 60 seconds one of those lasers can cause serious damage to a person's retina.

"For a pilot of a plane or chopper, it could be catastrophic," Koos said. "Not just to them but to everyone on the ground, so it's a big deal."

Chopper5 pilot Capt. Gregg Bourdon said the lasers can create a "big distraction" during takeoff or landing.

"There's a chance that it could damage to the pilot's eyes," Bourdon said. "But the biggest issue is the distraction that comes with that."

Police and the federal government warn parents not to buy them for their children because they are not toys.

Federal charges can be filed against violators and a hefty fine can come with a conviction.

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