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Guy Claims He Helped Plan Balloon Boy Hoax

10/17/2009 8:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

A man who claims he once worked for Richard Heene says Heene was obsessed with becoming famous, wanted to get his own show, and had an idea for a massive media stunt that involved a "weather balloon" that "resembles a UFO." Sound familiar?

Robert Thomas claims, in an interview with Gawker, that Heene believed such a stunt would "be the most significant UFO-related news event to take place since the Roswell Crash of 1947."

Thomas said Heene was "driven by ego and fame" after appearing on "Wife Swap." He says Heene's idea for a show was something like "'MythBusters'-meets-mad scientist."

Thomas says he worked for Heene from March through May 2009.

Thomas came out earlier in the day saying he had proof the entire incident was a hoax and wanted to be paid for it. Gawker openly admits they did in fact pay Thomas.


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Be fair folks, they deserve their 15 minutes of fame, "Worlds Dumbest Criminals". If ratings are good give them another shot on "Locked Up"

1829 days ago

too sad    

who would believe that is WAS NOT a hoax. only someone paid to say it wasnt a hoax .
check the sheriff to see if he was paid .
the poll keeps changing 7 - 8 percent
i think the family are on here
voting that is wasnt a hoax.
just my thought s

1829 days ago

Zippy T. Pinhead    

Any moron can see this was staged. It just seems to convenient to have a video of exactly how everything transpired. From his fake reaction to the tethers not being secured, them calling a local news station before calling 911, their son pretty much admitting how he was coached to hide. And not to mention the fact he's a publicity whore that would do just about anything to get his face on TV. Hopefully the only face-time he gets in the near future is a mugshot (jail-time) for abuse of the 911 system, child abuse and being an idiot in public. I made up the last one. I'm not sure if there is a law against being an idiot, but if there is, charge him with that too.

1829 days ago


The kids will be in juvy hall soon and then prison why? I wonder why? That mom is a nut case and the kids are messed up already no hope.

1829 days ago


TMZ = Paris Hilton's STDs

1829 days ago

Patrick M.    

Yes, I am Richard and the reason I am hiring a representative is because this is being blown out of proportions by you guys. My phone has been ringing none stop since yesterday, people are camped outside my house. This is America.

I did want a show at one time but not in this way.

This is not called for. I will be answering questions at the press conference ok? Other than that, I don't want any more phone calls from you guys.

and please TMZ, retract some statements about me.

I will be back on here after to follow up on your comments.

1829 days ago


Hey Richard, ur so cool, man. Just ignore the pitchfork and torch crowd posting here. They are just stupid.

1829 days ago

Ima adead moose    

My brother, I cry with you. We are soul mates who are lost and being exploited by the liberal media. Stay strong my brother.

Yours in spirit,


1829 days ago


TRASHY NUT CASES! Put him and that goofy ugly mom and send them up in a balloon and pray it crashes into the space shuttle and then drops them into the shark infested waters and then dumps them out as shark poop. There they will be better parents. She and him are nasty.

1829 days ago

Patrick M.    

My kids are home schooled. We have a lab, a math and reading room and everything. When the balloon took off it was a demonstration for the boys.

1829 days ago

Fred Farkel    


I believe every word you have said.

Now please believe me when I say that your children are all going to end up in prison. Nothing good will come from this insane alternative lifestyle you have built.

Good luck... but take a good long look at what has happened and ask yourself this:


1829 days ago

too sad    

make them pay for damage and lost time.
damage to the crop farm owners

1829 days ago



It's a free country. TMZ won't be retracting any statements about you. There was no slander just opinions and that is legal.

NO ONE cares about you. You're a ticking time bomb and I hope your wife takes the kids and leaves you before you snap.

You're a sicko.

1829 days ago

balloon boy's cousin    

why is this such a big deal? I'm a proud American, but sometimes I'm baffled by the crap that the American masses feed in to so with such interest and attention. It's like a freakin circus.

1829 days ago

Patrick M.    

and to all you who have supported my projects over the years, thank you very much. I want to thank David Skutnik, John Ingrams and my pal John Cory.

and to answer your questions, the balloon was supposed to be used as a prop for a home video we made.

1829 days ago
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