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Crime and Courts

FBI, Wichita Law Enforcement Agencies Look To Prosecute 'Lasing'

Sean Sandefur

The FBI has announced a partnership with local law enforcement in hopes more individuals are prosecuted for casting laser pointers at aircraft. Officials from the Wichita Airport Authority, Wichita Police Department and McConnell Air Force Base helped outline the plan Tuesday morning at Yingling Aviation, near Mid-Continent Airport. 

A $10,000 reward has been offered for any tips leading to the arrest of someone that’s pointed a laser at an aircraft

Marlin Ritzman, an FBI Assistant Special Agent from Kansas City, said there’s been a dramatic increase in reported attacks nationwide.   

“In 2013 there were 3,960 reported laser strikes of aircraft - that's almost 11 a day," Ritzman said. "We feel there's probably several hundred, if not thousands, more strikes that are occurring that are unreported.”

Officials said these lasers pose a deadly threat - they can temporarily blind pilots during takeoff or landing. The crime can result in hefty fines and even jail time.

Anyone with information about an incident is asked to contact Wichita’s FBI office or call 911. The reward is offered for the next 90 days.