EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Authorities say a West Texas man has been arrested and charged with shining a laser on a helicopter flying overhead.
Don Ray Dorsett was arrested Friday in El Paso. If convicted, the 28-year-old El Paso man faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
No one was injured in the Jan. 4 incident. However, U.S. Attorney Robert Pittman said in a statement issued Friday that pointing lasers at aircraft poses a risk to flight crews, passengers and people on the ground. Consequently, it's a federal crime.
In 2013, 3,960 laser strikes were reported, a 1,100% increase since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) started tracking the incidents in 2005.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.