Stolen balloon from Indiana seized at Villages Hot Air Balloon Festival

Marion County sheriff’s deputies scored a first Saturday for the 175-year-old law enforcement agency – the recovery a stolen hot air balloon.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office says it recovered this stolen $30,000 balloon from The Villages Hot Air Balloon Festival, which was held Saturday at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala.

The sheriff’s office received a call from the Bloomington, Ind., Police Department on Saturday to report that the balloon, which was reported stolen from their jurisdiction, had been spotted at The Villages Hot Air Balloon Festival, which was being held at the Florida Horse Park on S Hwy. 475 in Ocala.

Deputies responded to the event and confirmed that it was the stolen balloon. The owner didn’t want to press charges so the $30,000 balloon was seized and towed to a holding facility to await pickup, a sheriff’s office report states.

The hot air balloon on the right, which appeared at a balloon glow event at The Villages Polo Fields last June, appears to be the same one that was reported stolen in Bloomington, Ind., and recovered Saturday in Ocala at The Villages Hot Air Balloon Festival.

A similar event was held in The Villages last June at the polo fields. Billed as a balloon glow event, it featured several tethered balloons lighting up the night sky with propane burners, including one that appears to be the balloon that was reported stolen out of Bloomington, Ind.