An extremely powerful laser cannon has gone missing. The device is worth an estimated $12,000, and authorities suspect foul play.
According to The Dallas Morning News, police in Denton, Texas believe the laser was stolen on January 21 from the bed of a pickup truck belonging to the Kansas City Southern (KCS) railroad company. When it was last seen, the two-foot-long device was housed in a yellow protective case.
Railroads use lasers like this one to measure the length and straightness of rails. KCS told police that the company's missing device has a long range and is quite powerful, although the railroad was hesitant to divulge more details.
Police spokesman Ryan Grelle said that Denton detectives alerted the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) when they learned of the missing device's power. "Investigators said they worry that the laser could be pointed at aircraft, potentially blinding a pilot," writes NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
KCS is offering a $1,000 reward for information regarding the missing equipment. "Anyone with information on the laser cannon's location can notify their local police department or the FBI," NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reports.
Recently, the FAA reported a dramatic rise in the number of incidents in which people pointed lasers at aircraft. In 2010, there were 2,836 incidents recorded, up from 1,527 the previous year.