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Mass. Man 2nd in Nation to Get Convicted of Pointing Laser at Aircraft

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Massachusetts man, who became the second person in the country convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft, was sentenced Monday in Boston federal court to three years in prison.

Gerard Sasso, 52, of Medford, Mass., was convicted of shining a powerful green laser beam into a State Police helicopter on Dec. 8, 2007 that was escorting a liquid gas tanker through Boston Harbor, authorities said. He then lied to law enforcement when questioned about it.

The incident happened around 9:15 p.m., the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The laser was pointed in the cockpit, which then was  filled with a sparkling green light.

The pilots then began flying an “S” shaped pattern toward the beam to identify its source, authorities said. Eventually, pilots were able to determine the beam was likely coming from the window of Sasso’s third floor apartment on the Medford/Somerville line, authorities said.

Officers responded to Sasso’s apartment and interviewed him, and he lied about pointing the laser, authorities said.

But officers noticed a laser pointer on his bedside table and he subsequently admitted he did it. Police recovered 11 lasers fro his apartment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“This sentence should send a strong message that interfering with an aircraft in any way will result in aggressive prosecution and stiff sentences,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “Such actions endanger lives and disrupt air travel, and will not be tolerated.”


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