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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Brandon man accused of shining laser at police helicopter

Two days after the FBI issued a stern warning against anyone who aims laser pointers at aircraft, a Brandon man was arrested for doing just that at a Tampa Police Department helicopter.

The incident occurred Tuesday around 1:28 a.m., when Tampa police Officers Brian Gentry and Mark McCann say their helicopter was hit with a green laser as they were flying over the area of 50th Street and Adamo Drive.

Using night vision devices to detect the source of the laser, the officers led patrol units to Bradley Steffes, 29, who was entering a Dodge Ram pickup truck parked at 5205 Adamo Drive.

Steffes, who was the only individual in the parking lot, consented to have his vehicle search. Police then found a laser pointer, as well as marijuana and a pipe.

Steffes remains in the Hillsborough County Jail on $3,000 bond.

On Tuesday, the FBI, in partnership with the Federal Aviation Authority and local law enforcement, launched the new campaign. The initiative is meant to educate the public about the severity of the crime — which in 2012 became a federal offense — and offer rewards for anyone with information about someone who has committed such an act.

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