Man behind lights prank gains attention

Todd Fassler may face legal trouble

SAN DIEGO - A Halloween hoax that prompted numerous 911 calls has sparked some added attention.

"A prank is a prank," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Daryll Pina said. "Sometimes it can be dangerous, other times it may not."

This seemed all too similar to something many have seen before. 10News found that this was not Todd Fassler's first prank.

On New Year's Eve in 2009, viewers called in with a possible UFO sighting. A viewer notified 10News of Fassler, who showed 10News his contraption.

"Brings up conversation in the news, entertainment to everybody looking up in the air and so that's why I do it," Fassler said a couple years ago. "I've been doing it for a few years, and you finally found out I do it, and I won't do it no more."

Fassler told 10News he used flares back then, and Pina said that is a huge hazard.

"From my understanding, back in 2009, he did the same prank using road flares which, basically, he created an aerial ignition device," Pina said.

That's code for fire in the sky.

"This time of year it has the potential of being very devastating," Pina added.

Officials are looking into both instances. It happened just a couple miles away from Gillespie Field, which may pose an added risk.

Ian McGregor of the FAA said, according to their guidelines, "No person may operate any moored balloon, kite, amateur rocket, or unmanned free balloon in a manner that creates a hazard to other persons, or their property."

They said they cannot comment on this specific case.

"Generally speaking, I can say that various kinds of lines could pose a hazard to an aircraft if the line got wrapped around a propeller or rotor blade," Gregor said. "A hazard also could arise if a turning propeller or blade sucked an object that was attached to the line into the system or an engine."

Still, without the flares, this trick seemed a little less frightening to officials this Halloween.

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