Officials say laser was pointed into cockpits of two planes, cars near Newton Center

Authorities are investigating reports of someone pointing a green laser Tuesday night into the cockpits of two airplanes in mid-flight, and the windows of several cars in Newton.

Newton police received reports of a man pointing a green laser pen into the windows of moving cars near Newton Center shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday. The suspect was described as a man in his late teens or early 20s who was wearing a bright orange coat, said Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker, a Newton police spokesman.

Several hours later, Newton police were notified by the Federal Aviation Administration of similar incidents occurring in the sky.

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Two pilots reported their cockpits were illuminated with green light from somewhere below them within 15 minutes of each other, said Jim Peters, an FAA spokesman.

A Delta Air Lines pilot reported the light at 8:30 p.m., while the plane was climbing at 14,000 feet. The plane was 18 miles west of Logan International Airport and heading toward Atlanta, Peters said.

The second report came from the pilot of a JetBlue aircraft heading toward Boston whose cockpit was hit by the green light while flying over Providence at about 8:45 p.m. Rhode Island State Police were notified.

The FAA pinpointed the coordinates to Forte Park in Newton. Police went there but did not find anyone.

Officials have said that any brief distraction in an airplane cockpit during a critical time, such as takeoff or landing, can be catastrophic.