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May 28, 2017

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US$10,000 for those who shine lasers at planes: FBI

NEW YORK--The FBI on Tuesday offered a US$10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of people who point lasers into airplane cockpits, saying there has been a "disturbing" increase in the incidents.

Since 2005, when federal authorities began tracking such crimes, instances of handheld lasers being directed into the cockpits of airborne planes has increased more than 10-fold, U.S. authorities said.

Officials said misuse of the laser pointer can be dangerous for pilots and their crews.

"A laser pointed at a plane's cockpit could blind a pilot," said Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos.

"We are asking anyone who knows anything about the recent spate of incidents to pick up the phone and call the FBI for the safety of all who fly."

The latest known incident occurred May 23, 2014, when a pilot for Shuttle America pilot said someone shone a laser into his cockpit as the aircraft approached LaGuardia Airport.

"The Shuttle America's cockpit was illuminated four times by a powerful green laser at 5,000 feet," an FBI statement said.

"The beam originated from a residential area approximately eight miles (13 kilometers) south of LaGuardia," the FBI statement said.

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