Air, Ground Hunt in South Bay Lands Laser Suspect

By Lori Preuitt
|  Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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Air, Ground Hunt in South Bay Lands Laser Suspect

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A man who sells commercial lasers for a living has been arrested in El Cerrito, after shining one of his laser pointers at a CHP helicopter, momentarily incapacitating the pilot, police said Monday.

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Pointing a laser beam in the direction of a police officer is not a good idea.  It's an even worse idea to point it at an officer in a helicopter.

A 23 year old South Bay man learned that lesson this week.

 According the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, Ryen Miller pointed a laser several times at the sheriff's helicopter Star I Tuesday night while it was on patrol.

The chopper was patrolling the Cambrian area of San Jose around 6:15 p.m. when the pilot said he was struck by a high power green laser.

A sheriff's deputy on the helicopter immediately identified the source of the beam in a parking lot on Woodard Road.

The deputy said a man in that parking lot jumped in silver Honda and drove away.  He saw the driver discharge the beam several more times.

Quick coordination with officers on the ground started zeroing in on the suspect.  Miller was pulled over near Bascom and Union and arrested.  He was booked for discharging a green laser at an aircraft.  The charge is a felony.

Miller is out on bail.  Under a new federal law he faces up to five years in prison.

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