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Deputies recover stolen hot air balloon in Florida

By Ben Hooper

March 25 (UPI) -- Sheriff's deputies in Florida said it was an unusual situation when they helped with the recovery of a different type of stolen vehicle -- a hot air balloon.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said it received word from the Bloomington Police Department in Indiana that a hot air balloon reported stolen in the Midwest had been spotted in Florida.

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The stolen balloon was spotted being used at The Villages Hot Air Balloon Festival, which was held at the Florida Horse Park.

Deputies confirmed the balloon was the missing vehicle and it was loaded up to be returned to its owner in Bloomington. The owner declined to press charges against the person in possession of the balloon, stating they just wanted their property returned.

The sheriff's office said the recovery of a stolen hot air balloon was a first for the department in all of its 175 years.

"This just proves that you never know what the MCSO is going to be called out to next," the sheriff's office said.

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