Oct 22, 2009

Balloon incident dad had felony conviction in California

Richard Heene, the father of the 6-year-old boy thought to be in a runaway helium balloon in Fort Collins last week, has a criminal felony record in California.

Richard Heene (shown here with 6-year-old Falcon Heene) was convicted of assault with a firearm on Feb. 21, 1984. A judge sentenced Heene to three years probation, according to the Superior Court of Riverside County.

Heene was 23 years old when he was arrested for the felony and had been working for various contractors as a construction worker and carpenter at a job site in Rancho Bernardo, according to court records.

Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden has said a felony conviction against Heene would be important to the sheriff's ongoing criminal and child-welfare investigation.

"It would be pertinent to the welfare of the children and to our determination about if they are in a safe environment and our investigation into the hoax," Alderden said.

The sheriff says his office, along with Larimer County Department of Social Services, is trying to determine if the children are suitably placed in the home.

More here.