Police: Mount Sinai man pointed laser at military helicopter

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MOUNT SINAI -

Police say a Mount Sinai man pointed a laser at a Black Hawk helicopter that was flying near his home.

It happened around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday. A spokesman for the New York Army National Guard says the helicopter was about 1,000 feet off the ground and that its crew was training on the use of night vision goggles.

Four crew members were on board at the time and noticed the laser, the spokesman says, adding they then changed their flight path.

Black Hawk helicopters have GPS, and the pilot noted from where the laser was coming. Suffolk County police say the laser was in fact pointed from a home on Shore Road in Mount Sinai, where 72-year-old Robert Simione was arrested.

Simione didn't answer his door on Thursday. But he did post publicly on Facebook, saying he had received the $7 laser in the mail and then took a sleeping pill. He said, "While I was waiting for the sleeping pill to kick in, I went outside to play with my new toy.... shining it on the neighbor's house, up the road, the sky and the moon (didn't reach)..... and oh - there's a helicopter." He said he went to bed and then, "I'm out like a light and BAM, BAM, BAM..... The police are at my door!!!!"

Pointing a laser at any aircraft is a crime and can be dangerous. Simione addressed that in his post, as well, saying, "OK, OK, It wasn't the smartest thing to do to aim a laser at an aircraft. But I didn't know it actually touched any occupants. It was way WAY in the distance. And I didn't know it was a National Guard helicopter on maneuvers!"

Simione was given a desk appearance ticket and charged with reckless endangerment. He will be arraigned in August.

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