Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


'Balloon Boy' Dad a Hoaxter Whose Criminal Woes Have LA Roots

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Yesterday morning, authorities in Larimer County, Colorado, revealed that they are pursuing a criminal investigation of Thursday's "Balloon Boy" incident, when the Heene family allegedly led the Sheriff's Department, the media, and stunned viewers all over the world, to believe their 6-year-old son Falcon was drifting over the countryside in a home-made weather balloon. While no charges have been filed yet, patriarch Richard Heene could face a hefty laundry list of accusations, including several felonies.

While Heene's quest to have his family become television "reality" stars includes his posting a profile on the website "Reality Wanted" late last month as well as an appearance a year ago on Wife Swap, the family's time spent in Los Angeles seems to have left a significant blight on his record. In addition to the family allegedly leaving a Burbank rental home in disrepair with $6000 outstanding debt to the landlord, it seems Heene also has "a criminal record in L.A. and was sentenced to jail," celebrity gossip site TMZ reports. Here's what they found:

Heene was arrested in April 1997 and charged with misdemeanor vandalism, vehicle tampering, and disturbing the peace. We do not know the name of the victim. On April 15, 1997, Heene pled no contest to vandalism and the other charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 2 years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $100. It appears from the court record Heene served only 4 days and was then placed under house arrest.

The case was prosecuted by the L.A. City Attorney.

Previously on LAist:
Uncomfortable Moment: 'Balloon Boy' Tells CNN They 'Did this for a Show
Support for LAist comes from

Boy from Balloon Incident Still Missing, but Found in YouTube Video
Boy Floats Away in Balloon