It's dangerous, stupid and against federal law to shine a laser pointer at an aircraft, but people continue to do it.

New Jersey State Police arrested Jordan Prutzman, 32, of Tuckerton, for aiming a laser pointer at a State Police helicopter that was involved in the search for a missing person in Bass River Township, Burlington County.

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Troopers onboard the copter identified the man and notified troopers on the ground about his identity as he got in a vehicle and fled the scene.

Prutzman was pulled over by troopers on the Garden State Parkway and he admitted to shining the laser pointer at the helicopter. He was arrested and is facing federal charges.

The FAA has a campaign to heighten public awareness of the serious safety risk posed by lasers pointed at aircraft. Even still, laser strikes increased in 2020 despite a lower number of air traffic operations. 6,852 laser pointer incidents were reported last year in the U.S.

State Police say they were assisting Toms River Police looking for a missing person at about 10:42pm on May 5 when aviation troopers saw someone pointing a laser at their aircraft.

Trooper I Michael Jiampetti and Trooper I Brian Harper immediately identified a suspect on the ground who was in the area where the laser came from as he entered a vehicle and fled the scene. Troopers Jiampetti and Harper advised troopers on the ground of the location of the suspect as they observed the vehicle travel onto the Garden State Parkway.

 

Trooper Matthew Hamilton observed the suspect's vehicle on the Garden State Parkway northbound and conducted a motor vehicle stop at milepost 61 in Eagleswood Township, Ocean County. During the stop, Prutzman admitted to pointing a laser at the aircraft and was arrested without incident.

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