Notorious hot air balloon thief’s getaway foiled by gentle breeze - The Beaverton
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Notorious hot air balloon thief’s getaway foiled by gentle breeze

LETHBRIDGE, AB – The infamous ‘Basket Bandit,’ scourge of the dirigible community, was finally caught today when his attempt to abscond with a large rainbow was thwarted by a gentle breath of warm wind from the west.

“I curse the Chinook!” the bandit, whose real name is James Turner, shouted as he was taken into custody by Detective Beatrix Lamar. “My plan was foolproof, it would’ve been the perfect ! The perfect ! If these things could, you know, go where you want them to.”

Detective Lamar, the head of Lethbridge’s Hot Air Balloon and Blimp Crime Squad, has been chasing Turner since he first burst onto the balloon theft scene with the storied RE/MAX heist of 2005. That theft shook the ballooning world, inspiring numerous copycats and a noticeable uptick in attempted balloonjackings and sky piracy, the majority of which thankfully failed due to steering difficulties.

“His capture was the result of teamwork, experience, and the fact that balloons pretty much just go wherever the air currents take them,” Lamar explained. “This current happened to take him right above our police station.”

“This is a big win for justice, and for me personally,” said Lamar. “We’ve been playing a psychological game of cat-and-mouse for years. I can’t tell you how many ballooners I’ve brought in for questioning, how many I’ve put away on charges of basket or burner infractions in the hopes that one of them might be him. And still, every year, like clockwork, he’d taunt me on my birthday by sending me a bouquet of balloons.”

“Now, thankfully, this era of slow, cloud hopping lawlessness is finally over.”

At press time, Turner had somehow obtained a pair of roller skates and was slowly attempting to escape from police custody by skating up a steep hill.