Man who pointed laser at helicopter gets 15 months in prison

December 17, 2019 GMT

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A Rockford man who aimed a laser pointer at a law enforcement helicopter was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in federal prison.

Brenton Wells, 45, admitted that he pointed the laser at the helicopter for two minutes while in his backyard a year ago.

Wells followed the helicopter with the laser “as the helicopter moved, which made it difficult to navigate the helicopter,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Paccagnini said in a court filing.

Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft became a federal crime in 2012. Wells’ attorney said he didn’t intend any harm.

“Mr. Wells was unaware of the effect that his laser pointer had on the individuals inside the aircraft flying overhead until approached by law enforcement agents,” said Jill Skwor, who had asked for probation.