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YouTube Leads To Capture Of N.J. UFO Pranksters

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Hum    6,933

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBS) -- It wasn't exactly a close encounter.

It turns out the red lights seen in the skies over Morris County, N.J. back in January were part of a hoax, CBS station WCBS-TV reports.

What do you get with five flares, fishing line and helium balloons?

That's the red light riddle that had everyone in Morris County talking and thinking they were seeing UFOs.

But prosecutors said Thursday it was the work of two men with too much time on their hands.

The men now charged in the out-of-this-world stunt made it easy for police to get a hold of them. They posted all their plans for their bizarre red light riddle online.

The mysterious red lights that had county residents thinking they were being visited by aliens was no UFO. Police said it was a hoax concocted by two New Jersey men and they recorded their entire scheme.

"We're out in the woods again. This is Joe Rudy and Chris Russo. It's Jan 29, about 7 o'clock. About to fill up the first balloon. ..." goes the YouTube video.

njufo.jpg

Police said earlier this year 28-year-old Rudy and 29-year-old Russo lit red flares and sent them airborne with helium balloons and then posed as concerned residents calling local television stations for attention.

Police said Rudy and Russo pulled off the scam multiple times in January and February. They posted their activities on YouTube -- and that's exactly how they got caught.

"People who generally do stuff like this will not be satisfied with just a couple people knowing. They get it out there," Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said. "It's not surprising to me that they would have posted it on YouTube and posted it on the Internet. And we expected that would happen and in fact it did."

And in this case many were fooled, but prosecutors said the joke is over. They're grateful no one was hurt.

"In fact, they knew there were certain risks both to air flight, fire risks associated with what they were doing and I think clearly now they recognize that even more," Bianchi said.

The men stopped the hoax after Bianchi issued a statement asking the then-unknown balloon launchers to put an end to it.

The prosecutor said the fact that they did stop led to a less severe charge against them. They have been charged with disorderly conduct.

source & video

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Simon-    492

I didn't know that hoaxes are illegal? "Disorderly conduct"?? what the hell. lying is not illegal (unless under oath) and it's not their fault that others believed that it was a UFO, and even if they did believe it, so what? did anyone have emotional distress from thinking that there are UFOs visiting? :rolleyes: it's not like they hurt anyone.

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PsyOpWarlord    34
I didn't know that hoaxes are illegal? "Disorderly conduct"?? what the hell. lying is not illegal (unless under oath) and it's not their fault that others believed that it was a UFO, and even if they did believe it, so what? did anyone have emotional distress from thinking that there are UFOs visiting? :rolleyes: it's not like they hurt anyone.

I don't think it was the hoax. It was the risk of fire depending on if the flares could have ignited something and also the risk to aircraft (depending on how close they were to regulated airspace).

"In fact, they knew there were certain risks both to air flight, fire risks associated with what they were doing and I think clearly now they recognize that even more," Bianchi said.

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XerXis    259

still, charging them for something like that seems like taking it a bit far :s

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