When a Fresno, Calif. man allegedly shot a high-powered green laser at a police helicopter pilot in October, he successfully hit the pilot’s eyes and blinded him — at least momentarily, police said.
That was Michael Alvarez’ goal with the laser pointer, authorities said: He “thought it would be funny to point the laser at a helicopter” from the car he was driving with some passengers just after midnight on Oct. 22, according to new federal charging documents reported by Ars Technica.
Unfortunately for Alvarez, the alleged stunt revealed his location, according to police. He was spotted driving a white, four-door Toyota north on Highway 99, federal charging documents said.
Alvarez, 31, was indicted Nov. 9 on federal charges for the incident, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California. If convicted, Alvarez could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
After getting hit by Alvarez’ high-powered laser three times back in October, police said that the helicopter was able to shine its searchlight on the car the laser was coming from, the Fresno Bee reported. The helicopter continued to track the car’s movements from the air as officers on the ground started pursuing his vehicle.
Alvarez then allegedly pulled off the freeway, navigating through residential streets and dropping his passengers off along the way, the Bee reports. One woman in the car asked to get out “because she did not want to get in trouble,” according to the charging documents.