A 48-year-old man was arrested on a felony charge early Saturday after Richmond police say he aimed a laser pointer at a California Highway Patrol helicopter.
The incident was reported about 20 minutes after midnight in the Hilltop area, police spokesperson Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said Monday.
A CHP helicopter had just finished pursuing a stolen vehicle from Vallejo to Richmond when the crew noticed a laser was being pointed at the chopper.
The crew spotted the vehicle where the laser was coming from and followed the vehicle until RPD arrived and contacted its driver.
The driver, identified as 48-year-old Kenneth Rumberger, admitted to police he had a laser pointer but denied pointing it at the helicopter.
“He said he was pointing it at a street sign in the area,” Abetkov said.
Rumberger was arrested. The aiming of laser pointers at aircraft, a shockingly common crime, can blind pilots and cause crashes and is thus a felony offense, Abetkov said.
This video below discusses why the lasers are a potentially catastrophic distraction: