19-year-old Nathan Ramon Wells last year saw a California police helicopter and decided to aim a laser pointer at it, causing the pilot to suddenly change course during a burglary investigation. Now he's going to federal prison for 15 months.
According to the Los Angeles Times, in June 2009 Wells was in his car in Cathedral City, California aiming the green laser pointer at the cops and, after diverting the crew from the investigation, the pilot spotted him. He was arrested when police found the laser pointer in his car. What an idiot. He could have at least thrown it out the window when he noticed the police helicopter tailing him. Or maybe he didn't notice the chopper tailing him or the patrol cars called in for backup. Either way, now he's going to federal prison for 15 months, and will be on supervised release for three years afterward. That's harsh, bro.
Here's video of a British police helicopter being viciously targeted by a laser pointer from the crowd at a music festival. You can clearly see that it's dangerous, but 15 months in federal lockup seems like overkill.