Matheny helps nab laser-pointing offender

Matheny helps nab laser-pointing offender

Matheny helps nab laser-pointing offender
ST. LOUIS -- A 17-year-old male could face criminal charges after allegedly pointing a green laser onto the field at Busch Stadium during Monday's game between the Cardinals and the Giants.

The incident happened in the seventh inning, when several people -- including manager Mike Matheny, home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson and Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, who was up to bat -- noticed a green laser pointed on the back of Giants reliever Shane Loux. Holliday immediately stepped out of the batter's box, though the at-bat continued seconds later.

Matheny said that once the inning ended, he saw the green laser "glance across the ground." He looked over toward the seats on the first-base side and identified a male with a laser pointer. The 17-year-old was seated alongside others in a field-level suite, said Joe Walsh, director of security and special services.

"I said, 'I caught you' and he kind of froze up," Matheny said Tuesday.

Walsh said that security officers had already congregated in the vicinity of where the male was sitting after being alerted to the initial laser incident during Holliday's at-bat. After Matheny relayed a specific location, the Busch Stadium resident security agent, who is hired by Major League Baseball, walked toward the suite and saw three males on their way out.

The security agent, Walsh said, began to follow them, during which time he saw one throw something into a trash can. Once the security agent saw a uniformed police officer approaching, the three were stopped and brought into a holding room at Busch Stadium.

Walsh said that the green laser pointer was later found in the trash can. It is now in police custody as evidence.

"This kid, obviously, he thought it was funny," Walsh said. "There's nothing funny about it."

Walsh said the teenager who allegedly pointed the laser also tried to cover his tracks by seating two people where he was in the suite before he made his exit. That, Walsh said, appeared to be a calculated attempt to throw security officers off.

After the game ended, Matheny went to the holding room and identified whom he had spotted with the laser pointer. The 17-year-old was then arrested on a charge of disturbing an athletic event and booked into jail, Walsh said. The male has since been released. The other two individuals were released to adults Monday night.

A female adult was in the suite during the alleged incident, but Walsh described her as "not cooperative at all and rather boorish in her behavior" with security.

Because the 17-year-old violated a city ordinance, it is now up to the city counselor's office to issue a warrant, Walsh said. If a warrant is issued, the teenager would be required to go to court. Walsh said he hopes that charges are pursued.

"This is an issue that we take seriously," Walsh said. "If you look throughout the [professional sports] leagues, there's a certain paranoia about it when you start seeing this kind of thing. From a baseball standpoint, it's certainly dangerous for players. If you have a guy up to bat and all of a sudden there's a laser -- whether it's on the pitcher or whether somebody is flashing it -- you're going to be distracted."