Virginia Beach woman used strobe lights to distract Navy pilots near Fentress, NCIS says
By BROCK VERGAKIS | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: March 4, 2020
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A Virginia Beach woman has been accused of using strobe lights to distract pilots near Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress in Chesapeake and charged with interfering with an aircraft, according to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Lou Ella Moore was arrested on Friday night by NCIS agents and Virginia Beach police. She was released on bail, and a preliminary hearing for her is scheduled for April 30 in Virginia Beach General District Court.
NCIS said in a statement to The Virginian-Pilot that it received reports from leadership at Naval Air Station Oceana in December that someone had been flashing lights at passing planes.
Oceana is the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base and it uses the rural Fentress landing field near the Virginia Beach border so fighter pilots can simulate landing on an aircraft carrier.
Flashing lights — or lasers — at pilots can damage their eyes and cause aviators to become disoriented, putting them in danger.
“NCIS personnel observed Lou Moore using a homemade device made of multiple lights fastened to a garden rake, and pointing it at planes overhead,” NCIS spokesman Jeff Houston wrote in an email.
Court records list the infraction as occurring on Dec. 16.
Court records do not say where the lights were shined from, but public databases show Moore lives less than 3 miles southeast of Fentress.
If convicted, Moore faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.