Balloon Boy’s Dad Has Spent Time Behind Bars

Richard Heene has flown once before — as a jailbird.

A source within the Los Angeles DA’s office told Monday that Heene, the father of the 6-year-old boy mistakenly believed to have floated off to his doom in a helium balloon, had served time in an Los Angeles jail cell more than 12 years ago.

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The science enthusiast, was booked in April of 1997 on charges of misdemeanor vandalism, vehicle tampering, and disturbing the peace; he pleaded no contest to the vandalism charge, and the latter two were dismissed.

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Heene was sentenced to 30 days in jail, two years of probation and ordered to pay $100 restitution, though records show he only served four days of his sentence in jail, and the rest under house arrest.

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A worldwide audience watched Oct. 15, as the homemade helium balloon soared 7,000 feet over eastern Colorado for just under two hours; it was revealed during the dramatic incident that the boy’s family had gained fame on the ABC reality show Wife Swap. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden Sunday told reporters he will likely recommend felony charges against Heene and his wife, Mayumi in connection with the incident.

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