Calgary instructor thankful after stolen hot air balloon and trailer returned

Del Michaud's hot air balloon is seen in this undated photo. Del Michaud

Just over two weeks since a Calgary man’s trailer storing his hot air balloon was stolen, Del Michaud says he’s got it back in good condition.

“Last night, I received a call from police that my trailer had been dropped in an alley in Forest Lawn and was blocking the entrance to a garage when it was reported to them,” Michaud told Global News. “All that was missing was the rear door lock and licence plate.

“I probably had a little bit of luck because it’s an abnormal thing… I think the thieves just decided to give it all up and didn’t want anything to do with it.”

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Michaud picked it up Thursday night and said nothing was missing besides the lock and plate.

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“I got it all back and I’ve sent out letters to everybody – I’m really appreciative.”

Calgary police said there were no witnesses and no surfaces from which to gather fingerprints from the trailer.

The retired hot air balloon competitor, who now works as a teacher, said he just needs to check the balloon wasn’t tampered with before he starts using it again.

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Others in the balloon community have stepped forward in the meantime, offering him the use of their equipment for local recreational events.

“I use that balloon mostly for training. So I’ve got some students interested; possibly coming up from Mexico and possibly from Pakistan to train. So I just do fun ballooning and instruct student pilots now.”

He estimated the cost to replace the items would have been about $15,000; purchasing a new balloon would have cost about double that amount.

With files from Global’s Heide Pearson

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