An Omaha man will spend two years in prison for pointing a laser pointer at the Omaha Police helicopter. 30 year old Michael A. Smith was sentenced in federal court. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release following his stay behind bars.
Smith was convicted by a federal jury on April 24, 2013 for striking the helicopter with a laser pointer in northwest Omaha. The helicopter was responding to a Southwest Airlines commercial flight report that it had been struck by a laser one hour earlier.
Smith is the first person indicted in Nebraska under a new federal law making it a federal crime to target aircrafts and lasers. According to the FAA, lasers can temporarily blind a pilot and make it impossible to safely land an aircraft. Smith faced a maximum of five years in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the FAA, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the Omaha Police Department.