The Balloon Family has its balloon back.
Richard and Mayumi Heene tearfully claimed last year that their six-year-old son had been carried away by a balloon, although it later turned out they had hidden him in the attic and made up the story in an effort to get themselves a reality TV show deal. The Heenes did not get a TV show, but did get convicted of making false reports, and were required to pay $36,000 in restitution for the costs of the unnecessary search for Balloon Boy.
Authorities said that Richard Heene asked to measure the balloon before it was returned, apparently to make sure he got back the same one he launched last October. Why this was important to him was not immediately clear. (Why he thought that the cops might be planning to switch balloons on him, or how many big silver balloons he thinks they have in custody, are also questions that remain unanswered.) The speculation is that either he is still hoping to land a reality TV show, for which the balloon would possibly be an important prop, or that he is planning to sell the balloon on eBay. The measurement/verification would therefore presumably be because Heene, for some mysterious reason, thinks that people might not take his word that it is in fact the same balloon.
Heene was reportedly irked that the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office took photos of the event and mentioned it on the office’s blog, The Bull Sheet. “She told us the photos were not for the press,” Heene said. “But lo and behold, they go and make a big deal out of it…. These guys are trying to make me look like a fool,” said the man who had just verified the identity of a balloon he falsely claimed had kidnapped his son and who now thinks somebody might be interested in buying a torn-up hoax balloon on eBay.