Man gets 90 days in jail for pointing laser at planes

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A Valley man has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for pointing a laser at two commercial planes and a police helicopter late last year.

Michael Cerise, 47, was also sentenced on Wednesday to three years of supervised probation.

On the evening of November 9, 2011, the Phoenix Police Department Air Unit responded to the area of 86th Avenue and Highland after receiving a report that a laser was being pointed at planes flying overhead.

The pilot of the helicopter was struck by the laser, causing temporary partial blindness. Another officer in the helicopter was able spot Cerise standing at his patio door.

Ground units responded to the scene, and apprehended Cerise. He first denied pointing a laser at the sky, but went on to produce a green laser that he had hidden in his couch cushions.

Cerise would eventually tell authorities that he wanted to see how far the laser beam could reach, and had pointed it at the sky more than once.

“This case should send a clear message to anyone thinking about pulling a senseless stunt like this. Pointing lasers at aircraft is dangerous, stupid and illegal. If you do it, we will catch you and punish you,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.