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."