Teen pleads guilty to Busch laser pointer case

ST. LOUIS — A fan that halted a Cardinals game last August at Busch Stadium for aiming a laser pointer at San Francisco Giants pitcher Shane Loux has pleaded guilty in municipal court to disturbing the peace at an athletic event.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Eric Bogard, 17 at the time of the incident, was sentenced to serve six months on probation, complete 20 hours of community service and reimburse the Cardinals $500 in costs. The public record of his arrest will be erased if he remains on good behavior during his probation.
 
Bogard committed the crime during a Cardinals-Giants game on Aug. 5 while sitting in a luxury suite behind first base.
 
Matt Holliday was batting for the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh inning when he jumped out of the batter’s box after he noticed a green laser on the back of Loux.
 
Holliday and umpire Marvin Hudson turned to the stands but couldn’t locate the culprit. Play continued until after the inning when Hudson approached Matheny, who also saw the green laser pointed toward the mound.
 
“In between innings, I saw it glance across the ground again and I looked up and I caught the kid,” Matheny said the next day. “I called security over and pointed him out and they went up and took care of it.”
 
Matheny made eye contact with Bogard and pointed at him.
 
“I said, ‘I caught you,’ and he kind of froze up,” Matheny said. “I knew we only had a few minutes to get to them before they split and they tried taking off but fortunately security got to them first.
 
“It’s a crazy world right now and you start seeing lasers in big crowds, to me, I don’t think the kid knew the severity of what he was really doing. There were a couple things that could have gone bad there. It wasn’t like he did it the one time and was like, ‘Oh that probably wasn’t a good idea,’ because the whole dugout jumped up and tried to find him and then he kept doing it.”
 
Bogard left the suite and ditched the laser pointer in a trash can as he tried to flee the scene. The only problem was that a Major League Baseball security representative was on his way to the suite and witnessed the whole thing.
 
The officer followed the teen and his two friends until a uniformed officer arrived and stopped them. Bogard was taken to a holding cell at Busch Stadium until Matheny came after the game and identified him as the one he saw pointing the laser.
 
“It’s very dangerous,” Joe Walsh, Cardinals director of security, said at the time. “Not only the issue of a player could be distracted at the wrong time and Holliday, you saw his reaction, he literally jumped out of the box when he saw it and the umpire immediately stopped the game.
 
“The second issue, when you see something like that you wonder, ‘Do we have a crazy guy in the building now?’ That’s a whole other issue. You have two mass shootings in the last two weeks and we’re dealing with somebody pointing a laser at people?”
 
According to the Post-Dispatch report, a separate charge under an ordinance regulating use of laser pointers was dropped due to an agreement with the city counselor’s office.
 
Bogard’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, told the Post-Dispatch that, “Mr. Bogard regrets his behavior,” but that, “he wasn’t the one who actually did most of the harassing nor disturbing the peace with the laser. It was the young man who brought the laser and disposed of it, which was not Bogard.”
 
Schwartz admitted to the Post-Dispatch that Bogard did shoot the laser pointer onto the field and it was “an extreme error in judgment.”