Elehecer Balaguer showed up to a New York State Supreme Court hearing on Friday visibly distressed. The 54-year-old Bronx man was about to clear his conscience, and he was about to get in a lot of trouble, too.
Four days earlier, the New York Police Department had shown up at his house looking for a laser pointer. A laser beam had blinded four pilots in three planes landing at LaGuardia Airport earlier that night, causing air traffic control for the airport to reroute runway directions for all planes entering and leaving the area. Two NYPD officers were sent up in a helicopter to track the direction of the green laser beam, and they got lucky enough to be able to pinpoint its origin from a second-floor apartment from a building in the Bronx.
More NYPD officers were dispatched to the Bronx apartment, where a woman who looked like she had been sleeping answered the door. Two other men were found in the apartment, but only one of them, a 36-year-old florist named Frank Egan, seemed to have been awake in the recent hours. The officers found a laser pointer on top of the refrigerator, and when the officers questioned Egan, he said that Balaguer, the man who had appeared to be asleep, had purchased the pointer in Florida for $50.
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