Federal agents arrested a Shirley man Wednesday who admitted to allegedly aiming a laser pointer at two aircrafts last August after initially denying any involvement during his first interview with police the day the incident occurred, authorities said.
Investigators said Angel Rivas, 33, fessed up to the crime after he was interviewed a second time on Jan. 4 when Suffolk County police responded to a disturbance at a convenience store in Shirley, authorities said.
Rivas approached a Suffolk police officer and “stated…that he had shined the laser beam at the aircraft,” on Aug. 21, 2012, according to the criminal complaint.
Investigators said Rivas voluntarily waived his Miranda rights and stated that he used a laser pointer to direct a laser beam at an airplane and Suffolk County police helicopter flying overhead, according to the complaint.
During the initial investigation, a Suffolk police aviation unit was able to confirm that the laser beam came from Rivas’ home on William Floyd Parkway, but Rivas denied any wrongdoing at the time, authorities said.
“Rivas allegedly endangered the lives of passengers and crew of not one but two aircraft, and potentially, people on the ground,” said George Venizelos, assistant director-in-charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York office. “Pointing a laser at an aircraft is not a prank, it is a federal crime with penalties befitting its seriousness.”
Rivas is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.