Man charged with pointing laser at Tampa police helicopter

Published June 5, 2014

TAMPA -- A man authorities said pointed a laser at a police helicopter was arrested early Thursday morning on Adamo Drive by Tampa police, according to an arrest report.

Bradley Alan Steffes, 29, of Brandon pointed a green laser at the aircraft, the report said. The officers in the helicopter found Steffes using night vision goggles and other officers were sent to his location.

Steffes let officers search his pickup truck. They found the laser pointer, marijuana and a glass marijuana pipe, the report said. Steffes told them he was playing with the laser and pointing it at random objects, the report said.

Steffes was charged with misuse of a laser lighting device, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The arrest comes two day after the FBI announced a nationwide program that offers a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone who aims a laser at aircraft. The FBI's Tampa division, which comprises 18 counties, had 102 incidents of people pointing lasers at aircraft last year.