James McDonald charged with pointer a laser at Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office helicopter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Boca Raton man has been arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on charges that he used a laser pointer to shine a light into the cockpit of the sheriff's helicopter.

Deputies say that the incident occurred Wednesday night at 11:50 p-m.

James McDonald was identified as the suspect by PBSO and has been charged with pointing a light at a pilot and the misuse of a laser lighting device.

Bond was set at $3,000 after McDonald was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail.

The sheriff's office says that wasn't the only laser-pointing incident Wednesday.

It says a flight instructor at American Flyer claims someone pointed a laser at him west of Palm Beach International Airport just after 11 p.m. Wednesday as he flew from Pompano Beach to Vero Beach. He told a deputy that a green laser beam appeared for a few seconds in the cockpit of his Cessna 172 aircraft.

PBSO says that there has been an ongoing problem with the misuse of green lasers pointed into the cockpit of aircraft landing at Palm Beach International Airport.

Deputies say that the misuse of a laser lighting device is a third degree felony.

If you have information about the misuse of a green laser in the area of PBIA Wednesday evening you are urged to contact Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.

Story updated to clarify both incidents happened Wednesday night.

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