Teen accused of pointing laser at sheriff's pilot

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Tuesday night, Stephen Skribner heard a familiar noise passing above his Manatee County home.

"I heard the helicopter circling the house," he said.

Inside, a pilot and a spotter with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office searched for a suspect.

"They keep a good eye around here. There's been some problems," said Skribner.

But deputies said the pilot ran into another problem while on patrol. A bright green flash suddenly appeared from below.

"All of a sudden they have a laser light pointed at them," said Dave Bristow.

Dave Bristow with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said it's obvious it wasn't an accident.

"It just didn't happen once. It happened numerous times," he said. 

The pilot was able to zero in on the address and that led deputies to a neighborhood off of 20th Street W.

There, deputies found and arrested a 15-year-old boy with the laser light. 

"He didn't give any real explanation as to why he was doing this," said Bristow.

Pointing a laser into a cockpit is dangerous and illegal. The FBI set up a simulation to show what can happen when the light bounces off instrument panels and glass.

It can cause flash blindness for pilots, which is painful and disorienting.

"They need their undivided attention on what they're doing. Something like this can be real dangerous and temporarily blind someone," said Bristow.

One week ago a man pointing a laser, temporarily blinded a Pasco County Sheriff's Office pilot.

That pilot landed nearby and arrested the man himself. Those arrested rarely have a good explanation.

"Just not thinking. Doing something that is stupid. We encourage people to think before they do something like this," said Bristow.