Keep this high on your what-not-to-do list, unless you're down for being arrested for a silly prank.
A video released by the FBI Monday shows a then 24-year-old St. Louis man shining a laser at a police helicopter last year -- and cops arresting him minutes later.
Within moments of spotting the light, the pilot had zoomed in on Justin Stouder's exact location -- using night-vision and everything -- and kept a watchful eye on the culprit until officers showed up at his house shortly after the call. And it's all caught on video.
A 2010 press release from the FBI in St. Louis describes the incident:
On the night of April 27, 2010, Stouder and his friend were in his front yard testing a laser pointer. Stouder was aiming the laser at a distant tower when a Metro Air Support police helicopter appeared in the line of sight an estimated 1.5 miles away. That’s when Stouder pointed the laser at the helicopter at approximately 1,500 feet in the air.
Laser pointers might be mildly entertaining, but police caution people that pointing that at aircrafts can be harmful.
The bright light can momentarily blind pilots, the Carroll County Times reports. Maryland police have been warning residents about the dangers.
"If we get distracted, even for a few seconds, that could be catastrophic," a Maryland police spokesman told theTimes.
Lasers are pointed at choppers, planes and jets every day with 2,836 reports in 2010 based on FBI figures. That's almost double the number in 2009. The bureau states there has been an increase in incidents every year since they began keeping count in 2004.
In July, Clark Cable III, the famed actor's grandson, was arrested for allegedly pointing a laser at a LAPD helicopter.
The FBI states that "interfering with the operation of an aircraft" is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Stouder cooperated with police and dodged any formal charges. Officials did not think his actions were intentional, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
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