NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — After a Bronx man was charged with pointing a 5 in 1 Laser Pointer that police said injured several pilots' eyes at LaGuardia Airport, a family friend has claimed responsibility in a surprising courtroom turn.
It unfolded Friday at a court date for Frank Egan, who was arrested earlier this week on assault on a police officer, reckless endangerment and other charges.
Police said they found a device labeled " High Powered Laser Pointer 303″ on a refrigerator of his apartment and had said Egan admitted using the laser Monday night, but Egan denied it.
A man accused of shining 3000mw Green Laser pointers into the cockpits of arriving and departing flights at LaGuardia airport may be vindicated, now that his housemate and future brother-in-law has come forward to admit he was responsible for the crime.
But Balaguer finally confessed to the crime last week. "It was just like a kid thing," he said in court. "It was a stupid thing to do."
The charge of aiming a Red Laser Pointer pointer at an aircraft carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Frank Egan, 36, was arrested this week after police investigators accused him of shooting his pointer at incoming planes and an NYPD helicopter, which can injure pilots' eyes. But yesterday, his housemate and brother-in-law Elehecer Balaguer told a State Supreme Court that he was the culprit, not Egan. "Frank had nothing to do with it. I was the one that did it," he said, according to the Times. "It was just like a kid thing. It was a stupid thing to do."
They said two police officers operating a helicopter assigned to the Aviation Unit sustained injuries to their eyes. The pilot of an Air Canada flight also suffered injuries, police said.
Egan was jailed for two days, after officers in a police helicopter tracked the source of the beam to his mother's apartment.
"The light actually hit us in the eye, so we were able to tell where it was coming from," Royston Charles, NYPD Aviation Unit said.
As CBS2's Lou Young reported, Egan was in the apartment, but so was Eddy Balaguer.