Minn. teen arrested after allegedly shining laser at helicopter


Less than a week after a new Minnesota law went into effect banning the pointing of lasers at airplanes and helicopters, a teen has been the first person arrested for the crime.

The 17-year-old boy from Brooklyn Park pointed a laser at a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter Monday, police say. If the laser hits the helicopter's windshield, it can temporarily blind pilots and make flying extremely hazardous.

The helicopter located the boy and followed him until police found him hiding under a boat cover with a laser pointer.

Charges haven't been filed yet, but the boy could face a year in jail and a $3,000 fine if convicted.

WCCO spoke with the boy's father, who said his son didn't do it on purpose and was just messing around while waiting for a friend. He says his son didn't mean to harm anyone.

The irony of all this? The helicopter pilot targeted Monday, Jim Englin, was the same pilot that was blinded by a laser last year. He almost crashed in that case and wrote the bill that went into effect Saturday.

We were chuckling saying can you believe this? What are the odds of this? The law was written because we were out there and got hammered and now we are getting hammered again," Englin told WCCO.