LANCASTER – A 27-year-old man is in sheriff’s custody, accused of pointing a laser at a commercial aircraft flying over Lancaster and again at a local law enforcement plane sent to investigate.
Cory Lien of Lancaster was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of discharging a laser at an aircraft, according to Deputy Joshua Stamsek of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
The arrest came after “an unidentified commercial airline pilot reported the cockpit of his airplane had been illuminated with what appeared to be a ‘high powered green laser pointer,’” Stamsek said. “The plane had been flying over the city of Lancaster at the time of the incident.”
A law enforcement plane – Lancaster’s Law Enforcement Aerial Platform System (LEAPS) –was deployed to investigate, Stamsek said.
LEAPS also was lit up by the laser, according to Stamsek, but the pilot was nonetheless able to direct deputies to the suspect’s location in the 42000 block of 30th Street West.
Deputies located Lien, who “implicated himself in the crime,” Stamsek said, adding that a laser pointer was recovered from Lien’s home.
Lien is being held on $25,000 bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles, according to sheriff’s online inmate records.
The Sheriff’s Aero Bureau has had 36 documented incidents of lasers being pointed at aircraft since 2010, and 25 have led to arrests, Stamsek said.
Lasers pointed into airplane cockpits can temporarily blind a pilot and even cause permanent eye damage, he said.