FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

Massachusetts Man Used Industrial Laser On Police Copter

January 11, 2011  | 

A Medford, Mass., man was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for lasering a law enforcement helicopter. He's only the second man in the nation convicted of this crime.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro sentenced Gerard Sasso, 52, for shining a powerful green laser beam into a Massachusetts State Police helicopter that was escorting an LNG tanker through Boston Harbor, then lying about it to law enforcement.

Sasso's other convictions include willfully interfering with an aircraft operator with reckless disregard for human life and making false statements.

On Dec. 8, 2007, a state police helicopter was escorting a liquid natural gas tanker through Boston Harbor to the Distrigas Terminal in Everett. At approximately 9:15 p.m., the helicopter pilots saw a strange green light coming directly towards the cockpit and immediately recognized it as a laser beam. Despite taking evasive action to avoid being hit, the pilots were struck by the laser beam, which filled the entire cockpit with an intense sparkling green light.

The pilots viewed the laser beam as a potential threat to themselves, to the LNG tanker, and to planes landing at nearby Logan Airport. With the assent of the Coast Guard, which was supervising the LNG escort mission, the pilots began flying an "S" shaped pattern towards the beam in order to identify its source without being struck in the face by the laser.

As they flew closer to the beam's source, the beam kept following them, and it struck the helicopter at least four more times. The pilots were eventually able to determine that the beam was likely coming from a window in Sasso's third-floor apartment.

Officers responded to Sasso's apartment and interviewed him, at which time he falsely stated that he was not the person who had lasered the helicopter, that he knew nothing about the lasering incident, and that he owned no lasers.

Sasso repeated these false statements several more times until officers noticed a laser pointer on his bedside table. Sasso then confessed that he had, in fact, lasered the helicopter and that he had hidden the green laser in his baseboard heating system. Police recovered 11 lasers from Sasso's apartment.

The laser used by Sasso is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a Class IIIb laser, which is a type of laser designed only for light shows and industrial and research applications, not for use as a laser pointer or amusement device. It is at least five to ten times more powerful than an ordinary laser pointer and has a range of at least two miles.

Tags: Massachusetts State Police, Helicopters


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Fresno Police Chief's Car Set on Fire
The Fresno (Calif.) police chief's car was set on fire in the police headquarters parking...
Phoenix Police to Cut Aviation Budget
Audit of the Phoenix Police Aviation Unit shows they can function with less aircraft,...
Grenade Launcher Seized at Florida Traffic Stop
Orlando police stopped Fritz Joseph, of Miami, and Delroy Blake, of Casselberry Wednesday,...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine