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Jacksonville Man Indicted For Shining Laser at a Police Helicopter

On October 5, 2012, a federal grand jury in Jacksonville, Florida, returned an indictment on John Tyler Pennywitt charging him with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft.  It is alleged that during the night of June 3, 2012, Mr. Pennywitt  shined a laser into the cockpit of a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Patrol Helicopter.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 modernizes the nation's aviation system and establishes a new criminal offense for aiming the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft, or at the flight path of  an aircraft.  The statute was enacted in response to a growing number of incidents of pilots being distracted or even temporarily blinded by laser beams.

This case was investigated with the assistance of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and the Federal Aviation Administration.  

Note:  Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.