A Glendale man has been charged in federal court with aiming a laser pointer at a Riverside police helicopter.

Ronnie Ruben Kaplan Jr., 35, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on Monday, May 20, an FBI news release said. The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

The indictment says that on Oct. 13, 2015, Kaplan aimed the beam at the helicopter. A federal grand jury indicted Kaplan on Nov. 14, 2018. Authorities searched for Kaplan for several months before capturing him.

The FBI said incidents of people pointing lasers at aircraft are increasing, and California has had the most violations, the release said.

“Such safety hazards include temporary distraction and impaired vision, which is particularly dangerous during the critical takeoff or landing phase of flight,” the release said.


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