FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Fort Lauderdale man faces felony charges after aiming a laser at a Broward Sheriff’s Office helicopter.
A BSO pilot was left to fly blind after a man aimed a laser at his helicopter, just before midnight, Tuesday.
“When it hits the windshield, I can’t see anything that’s going on outside,” said BSO Sgt. Christopher Marchese, a pilot with the Sheriff’s Office who has been in similar situations.
The pilot in this latest incident was monitoring some suspicious activity in North Lauderdale when he suddenly couldn’t see in front of him.
“We’ve got a subject on the top floor of the building giving us a green laser,” the pilot said.
A routine call took a dangerous turn when someone started to point a laser at the aircraft. The chopper radioed for help.
“It’s going to be on the top floor, 4211 Northwest 41st St. He’s on the south side of the building,” the pilot said.
BSO said 35-year-old Stephen Ramoo made a dangerous decision from his fourth floor apartment. Shining a laser at a pilot is a felony and can carry a hefty sentence.
“Blinding,” said Marchese. “When it hits the windshield everything goes green. That’s the only thing we are seeing. It is a big problem across the country right now, and there is a lot of potential for serious disaster.”
Though Marchese was not in the helicopter on Tuesday night, he said this has happened to him about 10 times.
Whenever they can, they like to catch the culprit.
High-tech cameras made it easy and helped to spot the suspect quickly.
Ramoo knew he was in trouble and could be seen crawling back to his front door.
“All right, yes — that door. That first door right there to your left, that’s going to be it. Yep, right there. Right there. That’s it,” the pilot instructed authorities on the ground.
Deputies made an arrest within seconds.
The pilot asked, “What’s he saying?”
“Post Miranda admission,” a deputy replied.
“Excellent. Thank you for your help, guys,” the pilot said.
Ramoo appeared in court on Wednesday, and the judge did not take his charges lightly.
“Stephen Ramoo, if it’s gonna go bad, it just went all the way bad,” said the judge.
“It’s dangerous,” said Marchese. “It’s not fun. It’s not funny. It’s not fun for us. It’s my life up there, my crew member’s life and potentially everyone on the ground below me.”
Ramoo is out of jail on bond, but he faces prison time given his felony charge.
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