Man points giant spotlight at cop chopper

When an NYPD helicopter was circling overhead late at night, making a lot of noise, an Edgewater Park man woke up and wondered what to do. Then, literally, a light went on.

Joseph Purdon, 46, of 50A Edgewater Park, has been arrested after he went out into his backyard around 1 a.m. on Thursday, July 1 and shined a huge, “twenty-five million candle power spotlight” at the chopper, according to a police report.

NYPD police officer Christopher Maher and detective Bruce Baver “were piloting a New York City aircraft and were traveling at an altitude of approximately one thousand feet, when [Maher] observed a bright light emanating from below that suddenly illuminated the cockpit, and the beam of light remained fixed on the cockpit, impending the vision of the flight crew,” reads to the report.

It was then that the pilot looked down and, using infrared vision, saw Purdon standing in his yard.

Purdon was brazenly aiming the giant light directly at the helicopter.

Police showe up and arrested Purdon on charges of reckless endangerment 1 and 2, and disorderly conduct.

Purdon was unreachable for comment, but neighbors, who would not give their names, all know him well. On his street in Edgewater Park, he goes by “Purdy.”

A young man two houses down said, “It’s not surprising at all. Purdy does stuff like this.” His friend offered: “The plane was probably annoying him, so he did something about it.”

Purdon’s residence, meanwhile, has security cameras on the outside and a large amount of old junk left out front. It would appear abandoned, except that neighbors say he lives there with his wife, and has a 17-year-old son. They speculated he may have other children as well, but no one was sure. “Look, it’s a secretive neighborhood,” said a 25-year-old woman who lives on the same street as Purdon. “My family knows him, sure, and he’s a nice guy, but I couldn’t tell you anything about his family or even what he does. He’s kind of that crazy guy around town.”

This neighbor went on to explain that the police helicopter came by after 1 a.m. and was extremely loud. She said people in her house were all up, trying to guess what it was circling overhead for. “I kind of don’t blame him,” she said, “because the noise was going on for like half an hour, and boy was it annoying. It woke me up.”

A younger neighbor, however, of 17, defended Purdon. “Everyone likes him around here, he’s a handy guy.”

According to the report, when police officers came to his home, Purdon indeed retrieved the light from inside his home, and simply said, “I knew you guys were going to come. I just got the light and was playing around with it.”

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