Holiday Laser Lights: Law enforcement warns about potential dang - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Holiday Laser Lights: Law enforcement warns about potential danger

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Laser holiday lights are the new big thing in outdoor decorations this year, but law enforcement officials are warning that laser light shows can be dangerous.

According to the FAA, laser lights could be a danger to planes because they are distracting, and the San Diego Air Patrol said there has been a spike in laser strike calls.

"If people point them up in the air then they have the potential of affecting over flying aircraft," said Lt. Darryl Hoover, SDPD Air Support.

Even pointing laser lights high up on a home or tree can make them beam across the sky and bounce around in a cockpit.

While pointing a laser at a plane can be accidental, intentionally doing so is a federal offense.

"While the intent may be different the effect is similar and it can be a distraction to pilots," said FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor.

Clairemont residents Mona Cross and Sunny Saulo missed the manufacturer's warning on the bottom of the page of the user's manual to not use the laser holiday lights within ten nautical miles of an airport.

Police compared laser strikes to being in a dark room and someone suddenly flashing a light in their eyes.

"I wasn't thinking of that - I just wanted the house to look nice," said Sunny.

Laser holiday lights are also attracting thieves because they can be easily removed. Sunny and Mona said they bring their lasers into their home at night so they are not stolen.

If convicted of intentionally tracking a plane with a laser, it's a minimum five-year prison sentence and an $11,000 fine.

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