POLICE BEAT

Falmouth teen charged with pointing laser at plane

Posted Aug. 25, 2012, at 1:54 p.m.

FALMOUTH, Maine — A 19-year-old Falmouth man has been charged with the criminal use of a laser pointer after complaints were received Friday night by a commercial aircraft and a boat operator.

John Bagonzi was issued a summons by Falmouth police shortly before 10 p.m. at the town landing pier in Falmouth, according to Falmouth Police Sgt. Frank Soule III.

The investigation began shortly before 8:30 p.m. Friday when the department received a call from the Portland International Jetport that a commercial airline pilot reported a laser being pointed at his cockpit. The pilot estimated the pointer was located about seven miles north/northeast of the jetport.

Officers patrolled but were unable to locate anyone because the location from the pilot was not specific enough.

Shortly after 9 p.m., Falmouth police received a second complaint from a launch operator at the Portland Yacht Club of someone pointing a green laser pointer at his vessel, making it difficult for him to operate his vessel.

The operator said the source of the laser appeared to be from the Falmouth Town Landing area, Soule said.

Officers went to the town landing and several people were getting into their vehicles, preparing to leave. Officers detained the people as part of the investigation.

As a result of the questioning, Bagonzi was issued the summons. Officer Kurt Fegan was the investigating officer.

The laser pointer was seized and is being kept as evidence. Sgt. Soule said the pointer was a powerful one.

The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing the incident for any potential further action by that federal agency, Soule said.

The criminal use of a laser pointer is a Class D offense, Soule said. The maximum punishment for a Class D crime is 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.

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