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Philly man gets jail for pointing laser at news helicopter

Daniel Dangler pleaded guilty in October and has been sentenced to three months in jail.

WHAT MAY have appeared to be fun and games to Daniel F. Dangler on July 18 - shining a green laser beam at a news helicopter - was a federal crime, which has landed the Philadelphia man in jail.

Dangler, 30, of Torresdale Avenue near Robbins Street, was sentenced this week to three months in jail followed by seven months of home confinement.

Dangler, an unemployed high-school dropout with convictions for burglary, driving under the influence and marijuana possession, pleaded guilty Oct. 27.

The Federal Aviation Administration also has a civil case pending against Dangler in which he could be fined up to $11,000.

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is dangerous because pilots can become distracted and temporarily blinded. Despite this, the reported number of laser incidents is on the rise across the country, according to the FAA. In 2006, there were 384 incidents, 1,527 incidents in 2009 and 3,482 incidents last year, the FAA reported.

Dangler pointed his laser at a Fox 29 helicopter about 9 p.m. when cameraman Alasdair Nugent was filming a police scene in Bridesburg, according to a prosecution sentencing memorandum.

"It is almost the same as pointing a gun at a person," Nugent told authorities.