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Man charged with pointing laser at aircraft pleads guilty

Laser pointers are a troubling trend that government officials say can disorient and temporarily blind pilots.

SEATTLE  — A man accused of pointing a green laser beam at commercial airplanes approaching the Seattle airport has pleaded guilty.

Michael McIntyre entered his plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

According to court records, McIntyre was pointing the laser beam at planes as they landed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on evening of March 13. He also pointed the beam at the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter as it was patrolling the air around Burien to locate the suspect.

The beams can be dangerous for pilots, as it makes it impossible for them to see, according to the federal agent who helped capture McIntyre.

The sheriff’s helicopter found McIntyre at the Burien Transit Center and he was arrested soon after.

He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he’s sentenced on October 9.

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