Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Teens get community service for UFO prank

Two New Jersey men have received fines and community service after they staged a series of UFO hoaxes.

Between Jan. 5 and Feb. 19, Russo and Rudy released helium balloons with traffic flares tied to them on five separate occasions in what they called a "social experiment" to debunk the pseudoscience of UFOs.

They set the balloons aloft from a field in Hanover Township, later calling a local television station to report the red lights.

On April 1, they published an article and series of videos on the website eSkeptic explaining how and why they created the hoax.

But one day after the expose, Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi held a press conference condemning the hoax, saying the floating balloons posed a potential fire hazard and could have interfered with air traffic at nearby Morristown Airport.

In court Tuesday, Carlucci accepted a plea deal from Rudy and Russo's attorneys to cite the pair for an ordinance violation. He ordered the pair to serve their community service for the Hanover Recreation Commission, working specifically with youth.

Sounds like the judge needs to get a sense of humor. Although the sentence wasn't overly harsh or unfair.

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