‘Tracking a raccoon’: Springfield man cited for pointing laser at OSHP helicopter

A Springfield man who said he was using a laser pointer to track a raccoon has been cited after allegedly pointing it into the cockpit of an Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopter.

Steven Sanders, 36, was charged Thursday in Clark County Municipal Court with interfering with operation of aircraft with laser. Sanders was not arrested and instead given a citation.

Sanders was cited on Saturday after OSHP was dispatched to the 1000 block of Broadway Street on a report “an individual pointing a laser at the OSHP aircraft,” according to an affidavit filed in the case.

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An OSHP trooper made contact with the suspect who identified himself as Sanders, according to the affidavit.

“Mr. Sanders stated that he was in his backyard grilling and was using the laser that he had bought on Wish.com to ‘track a raccoon,’” the affidavit said. “He then stated he was curious of the range and pointed the laser at the helicopter.”

The trooper allegedly asked Sanders what the range of the laser was and he stated “at least a football field,” the affidavit said.

“He stated that he did not intend to cause any problems and would not have pointed the laser in the direction of the aircraft if he would have known the consequences,” the affidavit said.

The laser was seized as evidence, the affidavit said.

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