A 27-year-old Lancaster man was arrested on suspicion of pointing a powerful laser at a commercial airliner as it flew over the Antelope Valley on Thursday night, authorities said.
The jet’s pilots, within seconds of being temporary blinded by the green light, radioed an air traffic control tower handling the airspace, which in turned contacted the Lancaster sheriff’s station dispatcher, said sheriff’s Cmdr. Mike Parker.
The dispatcher called the pilot of the Law Enforcement Airborne Platform System, a fixed-wing airplane assigned to aerial patrol over Lancaster. The plane, equipped with high-quality cameras, immediately began hunting for the source of the laser, Parker said.
As it circled above the city, the cockpit of the Lancaster airplane was illuminated several times by the laser, causing distraction and temporary visual impairment to the pilot, according to Parker.
But the pilot was able to guide deputies on the ground to a home in the 42000 block of 30th Street East, where Cory Lien, 27, was taken into custody.
The suspect acknowledged shining the laser, authorities said. Deputies seized a high-power laser pointing device and arrested Lien on suspicion of discharging a laser at an aircraft. He was held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Sheriff’s deputies in the last four years have arrested two dozen people on suspicion of shining lasers into eyes of pilots over the county. The offense is also subject to a federal fine of up to $11,000.