York Regional Police say they have laid multiple charges in connection with two incidents of laser strikes hitting police helicopters.
Investigators are looking into a third incident, as well. Police released video of the two incidents in question.
On Thursday, a helicopter was flying over the area of Islington Avenue and Rutherford Road in Vaughan when the pilot and tactical officer on board were “struck by a bright light source,” police said.
The crew was then able to direct officers on the ground to the location of a home on Ronan Crescent.
A 44-year-old man was charged with mischief endangering life, endangering the security of an aircraft in flight and unlawfully projecting a bright light into navigable airspace.
On Friday, at around 11:55 p.m., a helicopter was in the area of Birchmount Road and Enterprise Bouleveard in Markham assisting investigators on a break and enter when they were hit by a laser multiple times.
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Officers on the ground were led to a suspect on a balcony of a hotel on Birchmount Road.
A 52-year-old man was charged with mischief endangering life, endangering the security of an aircraft in flight, unlawfully projecting bright light into navigable airspace and obstructing police.
In a third incident on Saturday, another helicopter was hit at around 11:30 p.m. while on general patrol in the area of Bathurst Street and Jefferson Sideroad in Richmond Hill.
Investigators are still searching for the suspect involved in that incident.
“Health Canada warns that a split-second look into a laser pointer can result in a condition called flash blindness,” a press release from York police on Wednesday read. “This is similar to the effect you get during flash photography, where the image of the flash remains in your eyes for a few seconds, then fades away.
“However, for a pilot in control of an aircraft flying over populated areas, the consequences can be very serious.”
Anyone with information on the unresolved incident is asked to contact the York Regional Police at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7241 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.