Twelve different offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday they will pay $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest for pointing lasers at aircraft – a dangerous practice that can temporarily blind pilots.
The frequency of such incidents has risen greatly in recent years. In 2005, the year the FBI began tracking the “laser strikes,” it recorded 283. In 2013 it reported 3,960, or nearly 11 per day.
“Shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot, jeopardizing the safety of everyone on board,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We applaud our colleagues at the Justice Department for aggressively prosecuting aircraft laser incidents and we will continue to use civil penalties to further deter this dangerous activity.”
The pilot program offering rewards for information leading to arrests of individuals deliberately aiming such pointers at planes will run for 60 days, officials said.
“It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions,’’ said Ron Hosko, head of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.
The FBI offices offering the rewards are in Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City,...