Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Balloon Boy's flying machine sold to Colorado business owner

In October of 2009, Richard Heene, who now lives here, told authorities his son was in a homemade balloon that was floating over Colorado. That wasn’t the case.

Associated Press (2009)

In October of 2009, Richard Heene, who now lives here, told authorities his son was in a homemade balloon that was floating over Colorado. That wasn’t the case.

SPRING HILL — Though the final sale price fell $997,498 short of his original goal, Richard Heene has at last sold the infamous homemade balloon that thrust his family into the public consciousness two years ago.

Spring Hill residents Richard and Mayumi Heene — parents to Falcon Heene, better known as "Balloon Boy" — auctioned off the saucer for $2,502, money that Richard said will go to tsunami victims in Japan.

Mike Fruitman, owner of Mike's Stadium Sports Cards in Aurora, Colo., bought the device after a lengthy online auction that initially induced dozens of bogus bids, including a few six-figure offers.

Fruitman, reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, refused to divulge why he bought the balloon or what he intends to do with it. "At this point," he said, "I'm not in a position to discuss it."

The Heenes became internationally famous on Oct. 9, 2009, when Richard told authorities Falcon had climbed into the 20-foot in diameter contraption just before it took off and floated over Colorado. When it landed hours later, after a police chase on national television, it was empty. Falcon later was discovered hiding in the family's garage.

Richard pleaded guilty to felony charges and served 28 days in jail, and his wife did community service for filing a false police report.

The sale price didn't bring close to the $1 million Richard had hoped it would, but he's still relieved the process is over.

"It's definitely given us closure," he said, "mostly because we're able to help and do something positive with it."

Balloon Boy's flying machine sold to Colorado business owner 07/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 8:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn donates $1,000 to move Confederate monument

    Blogs

    TAMPA — The fundraising effort to remove a Confederate monument from downtown Tampa has tripled its haul since Hillsborough County commissioners tied the statue’s fate to the success of the campaign.

    A check from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for $1,000 to remove the Confederate monument from downtown Tampa.
  2. President Trump: Nation's culture being 'ripped apart' by Civil War statue removals

    National

    WASHINGTON — Showing his characteristic refusal to back down in the face of criticism, President Donald Trump deepened his defense of Confederate war memorials Thursday, sending out a series of messages on Twitter that adopted the language and arguments of white nationalists who have opposed their removal.

    President Donald Trump points to members of the media as he answers questions in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday. Republican leaders on Wednesday tiptoed around Trump's extraordinary comments on white supremacists.  [Associated Press]
  3. With election heating up, Bill Nelson floods Tampa Bay

    Blogs

    Sen. Bill Nelson seems to have set up a residency in Tampa Bay, a crucial area for his upcoming re-election campaign.

    Nelson campaigns with his wife in Orlando in 2012
  4. Martinez Middle School evacuated after bomb threat

    Crime

    LUTZ — Bob Martinez Middle School has been evacuated after someone called in a bomb threat, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

  5. Another local Confederate display sparks division, this one over name of the war

    News

    TAMPA — While the Hillsborough County commission was wrestling over the future of Confederate monument at the county courthouse, a lawsuit has been playing out in court over how best to represent the Civil War across town at Veterans Memorial Park.

    Veterans Memorial Park and Museum hosts displays marking America's wars and hosts ceremonies on special occasions, including  Pearl Harbor Day. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]