UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

Published: July 26, 2012 at 5:00 PM

'Balloon boy' balloon turned into cards

NEW YORK, July 26 (UPI) -- New York collectables company Topps said pieces of the flying saucer from the 2009 "balloon boy" hoax have been turned into trading cards.

Topps struck a deal with Michael Fruitman, who owns the balloon Fort Collins, Colo., residents Richard and Mayumi Heene falsely claimed carried their 5-year-old son away, to make individual trading cards from pieces of the Mylar saucer and include them in packs of the 2012 Topps Baseball Allen & Ginter Relics cards, The Loveland (Colo.) Reporter-Herald said Thursday.

"If this was the Mona Lisa I would not send it to them to be cut up, but I understand what this is," Fruitman said. "I figured this was a way that any number of people are able to own a piece of Colorado history."

Fruitman purchased the balloon for $2,502 at an auction last year. The Heenes, who were legally prohibited from profiting from their hoax, donated the money to charity.

The Heenes were ordered by a Colorado state court to pay $36,000 in restitution to the authorities who participated in the 60-mile chase.

Police invited into marijuana grow house

PORT ORANGE, Fla., July 26 (UPI) -- A Florida man who invited police to his home after accidentally shooting himself in the hand ended up arrested when officers found 46 marijuana plants.

Port Orange police said they followed John Pardus, 30, and his wife, Kimberly Pardus, 31, to their home Friday when the couple asked them to accompany them home from the hospital to unload John Pardus' guns and show him how to safely store them after he accidentally shot himself in the hand, The Daytona Beach News Journal reported Thursday.

Police said Pardus gave consent "to go in the house where it (the shooting) took place to unload the guns and conduct an investigation."

Officers entered the home and noticed the scent of marijuana, which they followed to the second floor of the home. They discovered a total of 46 marijuana plants in the house.

John Pardus told police he had nothing to do with the marijuana and his wife was the only person to use the home's second floor. Kimberly Pardus told officers she had learned how to set up the grow house from the Internet.

The man and wife were each charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession or use of narcotic paraphernalia and possession of marijuana. They were released after each posting $10,500 bail.

Crop circle debunker says he was framed

GOTTINGEN, Germany, July 26 (UPI) -- The owner of a Web site specializing in crop circles says he has no idea who carved out his Web address in a German wheat field.

Andreas Muller this week denied any role in the apparent vandalism, which the farmer near Gottingen said could cost him 1,500 euros ($1,841) in lost production.

"I fully distance myself from this act, which can be described as nothing short of vandalism," Muller said in a statement on his site.

The Local.de said Muller theorized the act was carried out by individuals who were angry at his recent debunking of certain crop circles, which were the work of earthling pranksters rather than visiting aliens.

Candidate aims for silence in rifle raffle

ST. LOUIS, July 26 (UPI) -- A candidate for the Missouri House is raffling off an assault rifle to finance his re-election campaign, but he doesn't want anyone to talk about the drawing.

Rep. John McCaherty told supporters in an e-mail not to talk about the raffle in which a .223-caliber AR-15 semi-automatic rifle is the prize, The Kansas City Star reported Thursday.

That type of weapon is the same as that used by the suspect in the Colorado movie theater shootings last Friday.

McCaherty also pledged in the e-mail not to talk to the press about the drawing.

"I have been contacted by several news sources. I am not interested in being their scapegoat. ... The less attention we give them, the quicker they move on to the next story," he said.

Tickets are $5 for the Aug. 27 drawing.

His district is on the outskirts of St. Louis.

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