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Va. man fined for shining laser at helicopter

Saturday - 5/19/2012, 3:20pm  ET

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Virginia Beach man who admitted shining a laser at a police helicopter has been sentenced to five years' probation and fined $5,000.

The Virginian-Pilot ( http://bit.ly/L5TYn4) reports Christopher B. Willingham was sentenced Friday in federal court in Virginia Beach. He pleaded guilty in January to a felony count of interfering with someone operating an aircraft.

Federal prosecutors said Willingham recklessly endangered pilots flying a Virginia Beach police helicopter by shining his laser at them from his backyard for about 20 minutes.

Court records show the laser hit the one of the pilots in the left eye and he was unable to monitor the helicopter's instruments. On three occasions the crew had to stop pursuing the suspect they were originally chasing due to the unsafe conditions the laser created.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)