The Balloon Has Burst: Papa Heene Is A Former Convict
Last week it was hard to avoid the saga of "Balloon Boy," 6-year-old Falcon Heene, who was believed to have been aboard his family's homemade weather balloon as it drifted above Colorado but who was later found safe at home. The sheriff in Larimer County, Colorado, where the Heenes live, called the whole thing a publicity-seeking hoax on the part of the Hollywood-enamored parents, and he declared that charges would be filed against the mom and dad.
We told you Friday that father Richard Heene had a rep for being a douche, with details offered from his former landlord: She said the family skipped town in 2007 owing her $6,000 in back rent and damages. She said Heene, in particular, was determined to make it Hollywood (the family appeared twice on ABC's Wife Swap) and was an imposing, sometimes scary figure. Now TMZ is reporting that papa Heene was convicted of vandalism in L.A. in 1997 and served four days in jail.
TMZ states he was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor vandalism, vehicle tampering and disturbing the peace but pleaded guilty only to vandalism in an apparent plea deal. He was sentenced to a month behind bars, as well as two years of probation, but he served only a few days and was then put under house arrest for the remainder of the term of his incarceration.
The Balloon Boy show unraveled Friday when Falcon Heene, responding to a question by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about why he didn't emerge from hiding when his parents frantically called out his name as the balloon took flight, said to his dad, "You guys said we did this for the show."
Sheriff Jim Alderden said Richard and Mayumi Heene were aspiring actors who met in Hollywood and "put on a very good show for us,"