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 June 28th, 2013  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara announces the arrest of a Plant City man for shining a laser pointer at in flight Sheriff’s Office Helicopter
 
St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Plant City man last night for shining a laser pointer device at a Sheriff’s Office Helicopter while it was in flight on patrol.

Shortly after 9:00 P.M. last night, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office’s Helicopter was on a Routine Patrol / Training Flight in the area of Interstate 95 and Okeechobee Road in Ft. Pierce when the pilots realized that the aircraft was being illuminated by a green laser device from the ground. The Pilot, Deputy Sheriff Jim Adams, observed that the beam from the device was coming from a pick up truck that was traveling southbound on Interstate 95.

Deputy Adams and Pilot Trainee Rob Harrison began to follow the suspect vehicle as it traveled southbound on Interstate 95 to Port St. Lucie. As the pilots monitored the suspect vehicle, they were able to direct road patrol units to the suspect vehicle to conduct a traffic stop.

When the responding patrol deputies were able to stop the vehicle they conducted an investigation which resulted in the laser pointing device being located in the possession of the vehicle front seat passenger. That passenger, Brian Alan Hart (Age 20) from Plant City, Florida was taken into custody. The suspect admitted to deputies that he had shined the device at the helicopter.

Sheriff Mascara stated “The potential for a disaster in situation was very great. We take the safety of our pilots very seriously and will not tolerate the use of these devices in a manner that could jeopardize their safety which they are in flight.”

The suspect was placed under arrest and transported to the St. Lucie County Jail. He was charged with one count violation of Florida Statute 784.062(3)(a) to wit: Pointing a laser device at a pilot. This is a Felony of the 3rd Degree punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $200,000.00 fine.

Sheriff Mascara continued “Fortunately in this case the skill of the pilots allowed them to not only avoid any problems from this act but also allowed us to locate and arrest the suspect.”

The suspect was released on bond from the St. Lucie County Jail.

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