Federal authorities have charged a New Jersey man under the USA Patriot Act for shining a laser beam at an airplane trying to land at the Teterboro, N.J., Airport, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. Defendant David Banach’s attorney said he had been using the laser pointer, which he bought off the Internet, to look at stars with his daughter. The chartered jet, with six passengers, was approaching the airport Dec. 29 when the pilots reported that a green laser beam had illuminated the windshield three times, temporarily blinding them. The plane landed safely.
On New Year’s Eve, one of the pilots accompanied police in a helicopter to find the source. They found Banach, 38, who police said admitted that his daughter had shined the laser at the helicopter. Although the case does not involve terrorism, the Justice Department is handling it under the antiterror USA Patriot law.