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FBI Offers Reward To Crack Down On Laser Pointers Used To Blind Pilots

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The FBI cracks down on laser attacks on aircraft. It's a prank that can blind pilots or even cause a crash. Now agents want to hunt down the people who shine lasers into the sky.

Christie Ileto has more on the new FBI reward being offered.

It's blinding trouble for pilots when someone on the ground flashes a laser into the cockpit, threatening the safety of those on board. Tuesday, the FBI announced it's cracking down on the growing menace.

"For the next 60 days, we have a $10,000 reward for individuals bringing forth information that could lead us to prosecute individuals," said Timothy Gallagher, Special Agent in Charge, FBI.

The Feds say since 2005, there's been a more than 1,100 percent increase in the number of laser strikes. Last year, there were almost 4,000 incidents--about 11 per day.

"A trend that's spiking over 1,000 percent is something we keep a close eye on," Gallagher said.

A couple of years ago, two Southwest pilots were rushed to the hospital after being briefly blinded by lasers while landing at BWI.

It's no secret the dangers associated with laser strike. In 2012, an FAA report showed those types of incidents happened more than 50 times to pilots in Maryland.

A recent WJZ investigation uncovered state police pilots are also targeted. With thousands of laser attacks unreported every year, the Feds say their warning is no joke.

If you see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, contact the FBI field office or call 911.

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