PALMETTO, Fla. (FOX 13) - A routine air patrol of Manatee County ended up with a big charge for one man.
"The subject farthest to the west has been hitting us with a laser," said the helicopter pilot Wednesday night.
A green laser, pointed several times into the cockpit of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office helicopter.
"It's obvious that some people don’t stop and think about what can just happen by doing that," said Randy Warren with the sheriff's office.
Warren said the laser was being pointed at deputies from a balcony at the Palms At Riviera Dunes in Palmetto.
It nearly blinded the pilot while navigating.
"For aircraft, what happens it can get right into their eyes and if it hits them in the eye it can cause blindness and maybe even cause vision damage," Warren said.
It can also disorient pilots, which is why it's illegal to point a laser at any aircraft.
In this case, it didn't take long to find the culprit, after deputies in the air told deputies on the ground where to look.
"They just make their way up to the door, knock on the door. They were a little scared when deputies arrived," Warren said. "They realized a crime had been committed and somebody was going to jail for it."
Vladimir Altman, 22 ended up behind bars, charged with a felony of pointing a laser at a pilot.
"Lesson is people need to realize pointing a laser at any moving vehicle is terrible to do. It’s irresponsible. Do not shine that at a helicopter or any aircraft," Warren said.