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Arrests follow laser strikes on sheriff's helicopter in California

WALNUT CREEK, California -- A trio of incidents involving helicopters hit by laser pointers over the span of two months in Antioch and Pittsburg, California, resulted in arrests each time, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office announced Monday.

CBS San Francisco reports that the helicopter used by the sheriff's office was struck by a green laser pointer on Sept. 18 and 26 in Antioch and Nov. 1 in Pittsburg, sheriff's officials said.

The three separate incidents all resulted in an arrest of individuals, CBS SF reports.

In each case, the suspects were pinpointed using the helicopter's infrared and mapping technology, sheriff's officials said. Local police then responded to the locations and arrested the suspects.

Sheriff's officials did not announce the suspects' names.

CBS SF reports that discharging a laser at an aircraft is considered a federal crime, sheriff's officials said. It can result in up to three years in prison or a $2,000 fine for offenders.

"Discharging a laser at an aircraft not only poses a danger to the those onboard the helicopter, but also those on the ground," Lt. Jose Beltran of the sheriff's office's air support unit said in a statement.

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