Skip to main content
Press Release

Cheektowaga man arrested for pointing a laser at an aircraft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Joseph L. Crapsi, 29, of Cheektowaga, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, which carries a minimum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles M. Kruly, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on March 1, 2024, at approximately 12:07 a.m., the pilot of a  Delta Airlines Flight reported to Buffalo Air Traffic Control that upon approach to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, he witnessed a green laser being pointed at the aircraft. The pilot reported that the laser originated approximately one mile south of the approach and lasted between 60-90 seconds. Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police Department officers were dispatched to the surrounding areas of Genesee Street, Dick Road, and Cayuga Street in Cheektowaga to investigate but did not find anything. At approximately 12:30 a.m., NFTA officers learned that Cheektowaga Police officers were responding to a call of a laser being pointed inside of a house. NFTA and Cheektowaga officers went to a Nagel Drive residence, where Crapsi’s parents allowed officers to enter. Officers recovered a laser pointer in Crapsi’s bedroom. In addition, officers spoke with the neighbor who reported that a green laser was shining through his kitchen window blinding him. The neighbor told officers he viewed the laser for approximately 15 minutes, and witnessed it being pointed directly into the sky multiple times.

The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer and was released on conditions. 

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police Department, under the direction of Chief Brian Patterson, the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief Brian Coons, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Miraglia. 

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  

# # # #


Barbara Burns


Updated March 18, 2024