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Feds: New York man charged for aiming laser at aircraft

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  • Staff Report 

In a significant legal development, Joseph L. Crapsi, 29, from Cheektowaga, New York, was arrested and charged with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. This offense, announced by Attorney Trini E. Ross, carries severe penalties including a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The incident, which took place on March 1, 2024, involved a Delta Airlines Flight approaching Buffalo Niagara International Airport being targeted by a green laser.

The pilot reported the laser attack lasted between 60-90 seconds, originating from approximately one mile south of their approach path. Despite initial investigations in the vicinity yielding no results, a subsequent complaint about a laser being used inside a house led authorities to Crapsi’s residence. There, with the permission of Crapsi’s parents, officers entered and discovered a laser pointer in his bedroom. Additionally, a neighbor reported being blinded by a green laser shining through his kitchen window, which he observed being pointed into the sky multiple times.

Crapsi made his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was released on conditions. The arrest follows an investigation by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police Department, Cheektowaga Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It’s important to note that the charge against Crapsi is an accusation, and he is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.