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Man Held After Laser Pointed at Helicopter

April 22, 2006|Juliet Chung | Times Staff Writer

A Newport Beach man arrested for pointing a laser at a police helicopter and temporarily blinding the pilot is also being investigated in the disappearance of $548,000 from the homeowners' association he once headed, authorities said Friday.

Peter G. Kontos, 33, was arrested Thursday and charged with discharging a laser -- which police said was 30 times more powerful than a standard laser pointer -- at an aircraft April 1 when a police helicopter responded to a burglary at the Villa Point condominium complex where he lives.

The pilot traced the beam to Kontos' home, said Newport Beach Lt. Mike McDermott.

Police searched his home and found $134,000 in cash stashed in envelopes behind picture frames and in hollowed-out books. Police say they are investigating whether the cash is tied to an ongoing investigation into the embezzlement of $548,000 from the Villa Point homeowners' association between 2002 and 2003. Kontos was once the group's president.

Kontos is being held in the Newport Beach city jail on a $500,000 bond.

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