BRONX, NY -- Frank Egan, a florist who works at the Enchanted Flowers Boutique at 426 Pelham Road in New Rochelle, NY, finally has his life back if not yet his reputation fully restored after charges against him were dismissed in the Bronx County Criminal Court.
After six months of hell, Judge Julio Rodriguez, III took less than six minutes to dismiss the case against Egan for aiming a laser pointer at four aircraft on approach to New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Prosecutors admitted to Rodriguez that a third-party had confessed to the crime back in March, as Talk of the Sound was first to report.
“It feels great to be fully exonerated,” Egan told Talk of the Sound in exclusive interview after he left the courtroom. “Now, I want my reputation back.”
On March 9, 2015, after a green laser device was aimed into the cockpit of at least four planes as they approached LaGuardia, a New York City Police helicopter went aloft to locate the source of the laser. As the helicopter mimicked a night approach by an aircraft into LaGuardia Airport, it was attacked by the same laser device. The pilot was temporarily blinded but was able to identify the apartment to officers on the ground who were dispatched to the scene.
Egan, who had no prior criminal record, was wrongly arrested by the New York Police Department and falsely charged by the Bronx District Attorney based largely on allegations made by Elehecer "Eddie" Balaguer, a convicted felon with an outstanding drug warrant. Based on Balaguer's false statements to police, Egan was arrested, held for two days at Riker’s Island, and then arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court on two counts of felony assault and four counts of reckless endangerment. He was held on $15,000 bond over $5,000 cash.
On March 15th, Balaguer turned himself. and admitted under oath that he was the person shining a laser out of a Bronx apartment, not Frank Egan. Talk of the Sound broke the news that Balaguer had confessed to police.
Asked whether Egan would pursue legal against the City of New York and the police officers involved, Egan’s lawyer, Francis O’Reilly said “Let's put it this way, New York City will be hearing from Frank”.