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FBI offers reward for info about shining lasers at pilots

Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia addresses the media at the Phoenix FBI office on Tuesday. (KTAR photo/Bob McClay)

Phoenix -- Aircraft are being deliberately targeted by people shining lasers at their cockpits. Now, a reward is being offered to catch those who do it.

For the next 60 days, the FBI will offer a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of anyone shining a laser at any police, military, or civilian aircraft. The reward is in addition to a $11,000 reward offered by the Federal Aviation Administration.

"This initiative is being implemented in 12 FBI offices across the country, from Los Angeles to San Juan, Puerto Rico," said FBI Special Agent In Charge Douglas G. Price.

He made the announcement at the FBI Offices in Phoenix, which is one of those 12 selected offices.

"The offices have been selected based on the number of instances that have occurred in their territory," he said.

The FBI says there were 3,960 laser strikes reported nationwide in 2013, with an average of almost 11 each day. The number of laser strikes have jumped more than 1,100 percent since 2005.

Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia says it's a big problem for his department.

"Our pilots experience at least two times a month where we're attacked by a laser," Garcia said. "It's a very serious situation for our pilots. It's placing their lives in danger, as well as the people on the ground."

About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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