PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Hunting Park man is under arrest on charges he shined a laser into the cockpit of a police helicopter Wednesday night.

The police helicopter was on routine patrol last night around 10 p.m., when the pilot reported someone just shined a laser into his eyes. He and his co-pilot both were hit with the laser, and while they did maintain control, they reported momentary pain and blurriness while trying to fly.

Responding officers arrested a man in his 20s near 6th and Lycoming; they say he was carrying a laser pen.

He is idenitified as 23-year-old Brian Lawhon of the 4000 block of North Franklin Street.

Investigators say this might seem like a harmless prank, but they say it’s extremely dangerous, with the potential of causing a major crash, and it carries some serious penalties — not only a year or two in jail, but also an $11,000 fine.

Police say that in addition to the charges of shining a light into a cockpit, the suspect in this case is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of reckless endangerment.

Reported by Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio 1060

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