A 52-year-old Medford man was sentenced today to three years in prison for shining a laser at a State Police helicopter that was escorting a tanker through Boston Harbor, federal prosecutors said.
Gerard Sasso is the first person in the state -- and the second in the nation -- to be convicted for lasering an aircraft. He was convicted of charges of willfully interfering with an aircraft operator with reckless disregard for human life, and of making false statements, the US attorney's office said in a statement.
Sasso was convicted of shining a powerful green laser on the helicopter on Dec. 8, 2007. Prosecutors said the pilots were able to determine the light was likely coming from Sasso's apartment.
Police went to Sasso's apartment, where he initially denied having the lasers but later confessed, prosecutors said. The green laser was recovered, along with 10 other lasers, from the apartment.
"This sentence should send a strong message that interfering with an aircraft in any way will result in aggressive prosecution and stiff sentences. Such actions endanger lives and disrupt air travel, and will not be tolerated," he said.
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