Area Man's Arrest Illuminates America's Dumbest Pastime: Shining Lasers at Planes

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Photo illustration Times Square photo credit/Boeing 747-700 credit

Update, 3/17/15 5:21 p.m.
Elehecer Balaguer was charged in federal court today with one count of aiming a laser at an aircraft. A press release from the office of Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, said Balaguer surrendered to FBI agents Monday morning, and on Tuesday, he reportedly told a judge that he has struggled with addiction and mental health problems, including bipolar disorder, for years. He faces a sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted.

Update, 3/14/15 1:09 p.m.
The full-grown man who pointed a laser at several aircraft earlier this week may not be Frank Egan after all. At a scheduled court appearance for Egan on Friday, his roommate, fellow area man Elehecer Balaguer, reportedly came forward and confessed that it was he who had purchased the laser pointer in Florida, brought it back to New York City, and engaged in the pastime known as lasing. According to the Wall Street Journal, Balaguer will turn himself in to the FBI on Monday. Meantime, Egan is free on bail. Balaguer is a full-grown man of 54, BTW.

Original story follows:

When the NYPD arrested a full-grown man in the Bronx for shining a laser pointer at several aircraft bound for LaGuardia — and, for good measure, at a police helicopter — earlier this week, you probably thought: What a moron!

It might not have crossed your mind that Schuylerville resident Frank Egan's alleged prank is only the tip of the laser pointer, as it were.

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Relax, Holiday Travelers, JFK Airport Security Guards Call Off Their Strike

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Diana Eliazov
Prince Jackson announced last night that the JFK security strike has been called off.
If you're planning on flying in or out of JFK over the next few days, the rumblings of an imminent strike by contracted security guards at the airport starting scheduled to start tomorrow might have given you some concern.

(Alternately, even if you weren't doing holiday flying, the idea that the people responsible for airport safety make poverty wages, don't get sick days, and often lack adequate training and equipment might also have given you some concern.)

Either way, you can breathe a little easier, as the security officers have announced that they're calling off the strike after the Port Authority intervened.

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Woman Gets Through Security At JFK With Dagger In Her Bag

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Well, this is heartening terrifying news for anyone who plans on traveling through JFK in the near future. A woman got through security in Terminal 5 with a dagger in her bag, the New York Post reported. Nope, TSA people, you weren't hallucinating à la Macbeth. It was an actual antique dagger, which the woman, 26-year-old Gabrielle Olsen of Washington Heights, told police was given to her by her father for protection.

And it's not like Olsen hadn't caught the TSA's eye. Before the TSA noticed the dagger they confiscated a bottle of liquid from Olsen. Then -- after she passed through the checkpoint -- they noticed the pointy thing on "a screening-machine X-ray."

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TSA Meanies Will Unwrap Your Presents, Take Your Snowglobes, Ruin Everything

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Even though it's the most wonderful time of the year does not mean that any of us should lose even an iota of vigilance and dedication to the cause at hand which is, of course, our safety, and any inconvenience dedicated to such. Thus, while you might be getting ahead of things and purchasing all your gifts and even wrapping them, obsessive-compulsively and perfectly, as you do, the TSA is under no obligation to just leave the presents be, and might actually have to unwrap them if they seem slightly or majorly sketchy. However...you knew this already, right? This is the year 2011?

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Vodka Blimp Breaks Free of Moorings and Lands in Backyard

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Not the Hangar One Vodka blimp.
A 128-foot blimp advertising Hangar One Vodka broke free of its moorings at a Columbus, Ohio airport during high winds, the AP reports. The FAA couldn't locate the rogue zeppelin after it floated, unmanned, into the sky. Seven hours later, a homeowner two miles away called to report that a giant blimp was in his her backyard. The Hangar One website says that the blimp is on tour across America in "a feat of blimp stamina to rival history's most ambitious airship itineraries." The website also says that "blimpin' ain't easy."

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Nude TSA Images Will No Longer Be Remotely Sexy

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If going through airport security was, for a short time, your favorite means of getting a glimpse of some fellow human's nude body, think again! TSA is onto you. Contrary to popular belief, they don't like looking at you nude, and they don't think you should look at anyone else nude, either. Thus, as they battle the forces of terrorism throughout our great country, they have replaced the "explicit 'person-specific images'" revealed by full-body scanners with a generic image of the distinctly 1-dimensional, flat, sexless person missing not only genitalia but also a nose at right.

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Wet, Naked Man Could Have Caused a Lot of Problems at JFK If He Knew How

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In a far too short story, the New York Post informs us of a "dripping-wet, naked man" eventually identified as Greg Rodriguez, 30, who managed to get over an 8-foot-high barbed wire fence at JFK Airport yesterday morning. This put him very, very close to a storage facility housing quite a lot of jet fuel, which would have been worrisome had he actually been up to no good and brilliant and evil instead of just sort of nuts, or in the wrong place at the wrong (naked) time, apparently. While one Port Authority spokeswoman said that Rodriguez was never a threat, another official asked, "If this guy was a former Navy SEAL or someone with special-ops training from another country, do you have any idea the amount of havoc and fear he could have caused?" Rodriguez has been charged with trespassing. At least he wasn't hiding a stun gun. [NYP]

Stun Guns, the Latest in Travel Chic: Two Found in Man's Luggage at JFK

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Hours of airport fun!
In a bizarre coincidence (some might even call it a "trend"), the New York Post notes that a mere two days after a stun gun was discovered in the back pocket of seat 9B of a JetBlue flight that had landed at Newark, two stun guns were found at JFK, this time in the luggage of a New Jersey restaurateur. Othon Mourkakos, who is 53, was headed to Frankfurt via a Lufthansa flight when a sharp-eyed Terminal One TSA screener noticed the guns in his bag. Mourkakos said the guns were for relatives in Greece and that he "didn't know it was illegal in New York." Seriously, though. How many times have you seen that damn sign saying snow globes are illegal -- and not a one about stun guns! Come on, TSA. Help us help you. [NYP]

Stun Gun Found on Plane Headed For New Jersey

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The FBI is looking into a stun gun found on a JetBlue flight from Boston to Newark, New Jersey, but a spokesman says it probably wasn't for a terrorist attack. That seems obvious considering it was found only after the plane was emptied, as the crew was cleaning and pulled it from a seat-back pocket, and it did not appear to have been fired. Police removed it and gave it to the Transportation Security Administration to look into, which doesn't make much sense considering they let it on in the first place.

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Terrorists Want to Ruin Your Summer Vacation With Body Bombs

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That bikini trick may not work this time.
As if you didn't have enough to worry about in life, your TSA pat-downs are about to get even more intimate after new intelligence has revealed that terrorists once again want to put bombs in their own bodies so as to ruin all of our fun this summer. Assholes. Thus, you may expect closer pat-downs, stricter security, more annoying lines, and all the related sturm und drang -- suntan lotion should not be over 3.4 ounces! -- as you await travel away from the tri-state area. There's no specific plot, but, via NBC New York, you must expect the unexpected.

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