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Boca Raton man accused of shining laser at Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter

Anthony Winborn told police he 'wanted to have some fun'
Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter hit by green laser, Feb. 28, 2022
Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 18:24:56-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A 56-year-old Boca Raton man was arrested Monday night after authorities said he shined a laser at a Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter.

According to a probable cause affidavit, a Boca Raton officer responded to 1291 SW Eighth St. at about 10 p.m. to assist deputies, who had been investigating a robbery that occurred in Deerfield Beach.

During the investigation, video shows someone shining a green laser at the Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter while it is flying overhead.

RELATED: Blinded by the light: Aircraft targeted by laser pointers at PBIA

The helicopter then shined its spotlight in the area of the light to indicate the location of the person using the laser.

The officer on the ground spotted a man matching the description of the suspect, later identified as Anthony Brian Winborn, 56, of Boca Raton.

The affidavit stated that when police asked him what he had been doing with the laser, Winborn stated that he "wanted to have some fun" and was "just playing around."

Winborn also admitted to shining the laser at the helicopter a few times and said he was aware that performing that action can blind a person and cause the aircraft to crash.

When the officer asked him where the laser currently was located, Winborn said he had tossed it into a neighbor's bushes because he knew he was in trouble and was trying to hide it.

Police retrieved the laser and confirmed it shined a green light.

Winborn was arrested and faces charges of pointing a laser at a driver or pilot and tampering with evidence.

He was released from jail Tuesday and told Contact 5 investigative reporter Michael Buczyner that he apologized for his actions.

"It just felt like a game. I was playing around," Winborn said. "I want to apologize to the Broward Sheriff's Office helicopter unit. I was wrong."

Contact 5 recently reported on the increase of dangerous laser strikes, which is against federal law. The FAA reported more than 9,700 laser strikes last year, which is the highest reported number of incidents ever.