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‘A very bad idea’: Man arrested for pointing laser at Virginia police helicopter


via Fairfax (Va.) Police Department

Virginia police have arrested a man they say pointed a laser at a helicopter that was in pursuit of a suspect who had ran from officers.

Cameron Van Vleet, 25, of Lorton, Virginia, was arrested and charged with interference with the operation of an aircraft, Fairfax County police told Law&Crime. He allegedly aimed a laser at the helicopter pilot as the chopper was supporting officers on the ground shortly before 11:30 p.m. on March 10.

Cameron Van Vleet (via Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department).

“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is illegal and also a very bad idea when that aircraft is a police helicopter,” the Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department wrote on Twitter of the incident, which took place on March 10.

Fairfax County police shared details about the incident on Instagram.

“[O]ur helicopter, Fairfax 1, was helping Virginia State Police search for someone who ran away from their Troopers,” the social media post said. “While overhead, the crew of Fairfax 1 saw someone pointing a laser at the aircraft. The crew used the chopper’s FLIR system and discovered the laser was coming from a balcony apartment in the 9200 block of Ashland Woods Lane.”

Police did not keep Van Vleet in custody after arresting him.

“He was released on a secured bond,” the FCPD said.

According to Virginia state law, interference with the operation of an aircraft is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.

Fairfax county police did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for additional information.

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