The lawyer for a man arrested Monday on a federal charge that he knowingly directed a laser at aircraft says his client came to him last week saying his conscience was bothering him because someone else had been arrested for something he did.
Attorney Manuel A. Sanchez Jr. said outside court that Elehecer Balaguer told him he wanted “to go to court and confess to the crime.”
Balaguer, 54, surrendered Monday morning and was released on $50,000 bail later in the day.
On Friday, Balaguer told a Bronx judge in state court that the government had the wrong man when it arrested Frank Egan, who lives in same Bronx apartment as Balaguer.
Balaguer was charged alone in federal court after pilots of three passenger planes and a police helicopter told authorities they suffered eye injuries when a green light beam was pointed at them as they flew near LaGuardia Airport on the evening of March 9.
Federal authorities said pilots on board an NYPD helicopter managed to pinpoint a particular Bronx apartment where they believed the laser had originated. Balaguer and others were in the apartment when investigators went there and he admitted that he owned the laser pointer but denied knowing who pointed it at passing airplanes. The laser device was found on top of the refrigerator.