News from around the state of Texas

Austin Man Arrested for Pointing Laser at Chopper

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There has been staggering increase of lasers pointed at airplanes, the FBI said.

    A 25-year-old Austin man has been arrested on federal charges accusing him of aiming a laser pointer at an Austin police helicopter.

    FBI agents on Thursday arrested Gabriel Soza Ruedas Jr.  The indictment says the incident occurred Feb. 15.

    Austin police aren't providing additional details, telling the Austin American-Statesman the case is ongoing.

    Prosecutors say it's the first arrest in Central Texas under a 2012 federal law that bars aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft.

    Conviction carries up to a five-year prison term and $250,000 fine.

    An Austin police helicopter pilot says the effect of the laser pointer's light inside the chopper's cockpit is like disco ball and can be disorienting and distracting.