Rincon man arrested for shining lasers at planes over Savannah Airport

Photo: Getty Images

If you ever played with a handheld laser as a kid you might’ve been cautioned by an adult not to point it up to the sky at airplanes.

Roger Floyd Hendricks, 48, of Rincon, was indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury on three counts of Aiming a Laser Pointer at an Aircraft, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Each count carries a possible penalty of up to five years in prison and substantial fines, followed by a period of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

A U.S. District grand jury indicated Roger Floyd Hendricks on three counts of pointing lasers at commercial flights—authorities have accused Hendricks of using a green laser to strike airplanes as they approached the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport on three different occasions, the most recent happening in January 2020. An FBI agent in Atlanta who worked on the case says, “Aiming a laser at an airplane is not a game, it’s a federal felony and something the FBI takes very seriously. These alleged actions placed the lies of innocent air travelers and commercial airline crews in danger and must be prosecuted.” 

The Federal Aviation Administration contacted the FBI in February for assistance in locating the source of three separate green laser strikes on aircraft inbound to the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. According to the indictment, those strikes included:

  • A Nov. 27, 2019 strike on Commutair flight 4935 from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The aircraft, an Embraer ERJ-145, has a capacity of more than 50 passengers and crew and landed safely.
  • A Dec. 8, 2019 strike on Delta flight 697 from Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta. The aircraft, an Airbus A321, has a capacity of up to nearly 200 passengers and crew and landed safely. And,
  • A Jan. 14, 2020 strike on NetJets flight 385 from Chicago Midway International Airport. The aircraft, a Cessna Citation Sovereign, has a capacity of eight passengers plus crew and landed safely.

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