Florida man arrested in helicopter laser strike

Posted at 11:39 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 15:40:08-04

FLORIDA (WFLA) – A Florida man was arrested Wednesday for shining a laser light at a sheriff’s helicopter.

Just after 9:30 p.m., the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office helicopter flew over the Palms at Riviera Dunes Apartment building when a laser was aimed into the cockpit.

The pilot quickly spotted three people on a balcony, one shining the laser.

“It’s obvious that some people don’t stop and think about just what can happen by doing that,” said MCSO spokesman Randy Warren.

Officials say when a laser pointer hits a windshield, the glass diffuses the light. It can temporarily blind the pilot, potentially hurt the pilot’s eyesight, and could put the crew in danger.

“Very dangerous, it’s a very irresponsible thing for anybody to do,” said Warren.

The pilot gave the location and within minutes, deputies arrived and 22-year-old Vladimir Altman was arrested.

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