Tampa man arrested for pointing laser at aircraft

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Air traffic controllers at Tampa International Airport were forced to change the landing and departure routes of commercial jet liners after police said a man on the ground aimed a laser lighting device at four commercial airplanes and a Tampa police helicopter.

The Tampa Tribune reports that 24-year-old Ahmed Maher Elhelw of Tampa was charged with misuse of a laser lighting device. It’s a third-degree felony.

He was released Monday morning after posting $2,000 bail. It’s unclear whether he has retained an attorney.

Deputies who interviewed Elhelw said his actions were meant as a prank and he was not intentionally attempting to interfere with the aircrafts’ landings.