Man Arrested for Shining Laser Light at Police Helicopter

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Burbank Police arrested 19 year-old Burbank resident Karpis Sanosyan for pointing a green laser at the Burbank / Glendale Police Helicopter on Friday evening, January 8, a little after 10:00 pm.

Sanosyan was visiting a home in the 1200 block of Verdugo Spring Lane when he shined the laser into the cockpit of the police helicopter. The helicopter, which is part of a long standing joint use agreement with the Glendale Police Department, was assisting ground officers on a burglary alarm call at the time of the incident.

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Photo By Ross A. Benson

The pilot reported the cockpit was struck twice by the laser, about thirty seconds apart. The pilot and tactical flight officer (TFO) were able to track the origin of the laser to the home on Verdugo Spring Lane. Once overhead, the officers were struck a third time with the laser. The pilot was temporarily blinded, but was able to maintain control of the aircraft and didn’t suffer any ongoing or permanent injury.

Burbank Police Officers responded to the home, where they contacted Sanosyan, the homeowner and other guests, who cooperated during the investigation. The laser pointer was given to the officers and seized as evidence in this case.

Sanosyan was arrested and booked into the Burbank City Jail. He later posted $20,000 bond and is due to appear in court on February 3.

The Burbank Police Department is the lead investigative agency on this case, but we are also working in partnership with the FAA and the FBI, as pointing a laser at an aircraft can be prosecuted as a federal crime.

The FAA logged over 5000 reported laser strikes to aircraft in 2015, a record number of incidents. Lasers cause a visual distraction and can lead to temporary blindness and longer-term eye damage. In some cases, pilots have had eye injuries requiring medical treatment.

The Burbank Police Department takes aircraft laser strikes very seriously and will work with our local and federal partners to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.