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Virginia Beach woman pleads guilty to flashing strobe lights at Navy jets

Judge's gavel. (Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/U.S. Air Force)

A Virginia Beach woman was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service Thursday for flashing strobe lights at passing Navy jets.

Lou Ella Moore, 65, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of interfering with the operation of aircraft, said Macie Allen, a spokesperson for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

In addition to the community service, District Judge Elizabeth Foster gave Moore a 6-month suspended jail sentence and ordered her to remain on good behavior for a year, Allen said.

Moore was arrested at her home in March by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents and Virginia Beach police.

NCIS had received reports from leadership at Naval Air Station Oceana that someone had been flashing lights at jets passing near Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress in Chesapeake, according to an NCIS statement released at the time.

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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. Public databases show Moore lives less than three miles southeast of Fentress.

NCIS agents said they witnessed Moore pointing a homemade device made up of multiple lights fastened to a garden rake towards jets as they passed by.

Flashing lights or lasers at pilots can damage their eyes and cause them to become disoriented. No pilots were harmed in the incidents, investigators said.

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© 2020 The Virginian-Pilot