Oct. 21--A Northeast Portland man will appear in a federal magistrate's court this afternoon to face charges that he pointed a laser beam at two airliners on Oct. 13 at Portland International Airport.
Stephen F. Bukucs, a 39-year-old security guard, is accused of aiming a laser pointer at United Airlines Flight 1406 and JetBlue Flight 1205 on Oct. 13, according to a government news release.
The charges against Bukucs, who worked for a time at the national security company G4S, carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A grand jury in Portland indicted Bukucs on Thursday, and he was arrested on Friday. By happenstance, CBS News reported on Friday that incidents of lasers being pointed at pilots, temporarily blinding them, had increased at New York City airports.
The problem with the lasers is that they are large, and green, and expand as they travel through the air. By the time they hit cockpits, they can temporarily blind pilots because the light fills pilots' vision.
Bukucs was booked in the Justice Center Jail in Portland, and has been assigned to the Inverness Jail, according to Multnomah County Sheriff's Office booking files.
It's unclear how long the FBI investigated Bukucs. But agents teamed up with the Federal Aviation Administration and Portland police, with assistance from the Washington County and Clackamas County sheriff's offices, to make the case against him.
Bukucs will be in the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. District Courthouse in Portland for his 1:30 p.m. appearance.
-- Bryan Denson
Copyright 2013 - The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.
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