FBI launches reward program for tips on aircraft laser attacks - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

FBI launches reward program for tips on aircraft laser attacks

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The FBI announced a new program to get people to stop pointing lasers at aircraft and find those who do.

It's a serious crime that has resulted in retina damage for pilots and there's always the worst case scenario of a crash.

The FBI will now pay $10,000 to those whose tips result in an arrest.

Just last week, 25-year-old Gabriel Ruedas was put in jail for the crime. Police say he pointed a laser at an APD helicopter as the pilot prepared to land.

APD pilots have response protocol to a laser attack because it happens to them so frequently.

Last year, there were 3,960 attacks nationwide.

"If a pilot or crew member loses their vision or their ability to see instruments in the cockpit or lose ability to see the horizon, then the aircraft can go out of control very easily," APD Air Unit Sgt. Den Dranguet said. "If there's not a qualified crew member who is not affected by the laser that can take the controls, the aircraft can go out of control in a matter of seconds."

Those arrested for the crime face up to five years in prison.

If you spot someone doing the dangerous behavior call 9-1-1 or the FBI at 210-225-6741 for a chance to earn $10,000.

You can also submit tips online at https://tips.fbi.gov

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