Hoax artist strikes Aspen classifieds | VailDaily.com

Hoax artist strikes Aspen classifieds

Rick CarrollAspen CorrespondentVail, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado Rory Emerald is one lucky fellow.He once found the original car used in the 1968 classic motion picture Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Another time, he happened upon Elvis Presley’s tour bus. More recently, he bumped into an ice sculpture of SpongeBob SquarePants, which had been left in a walk-in freezer.And this week, the Los Angeles artist ran a classified ad in The Aspen Times claiming he had found Billy Idols motorcycle, leather jacket & record collection.Yesirree, this Emerald guy has the luck of the Irish. Or maybe, just maybe, hes a hoax artist, his latest victims being some 60 or 70 curious or perhaps gullible readers of the Times.Thats the number of people Emerald claims called him Sunday and Monday in response to the ad for Idol, the spike- haired singer known for his leather wardrobe and curled lips, and whose 80s chartbusters such as Rebel Yell and Mony Mony have achieved jock-rock status.Indeed, tricking readers is something Emerald likes to do with his spare time, something of which he apparently is not in short supply.I definitely have fun with this, said Emerald, who counts newspapers in Iowa City, Iowa; Helena, Mont.; and Waco, Texas, among his victims.Thats because most newspapers typically dont charge for lost and found ads, instead treating the free space as a service to readers in need of help.Were trying to do the right thing and help people get their stuff back, said Aspen Times Publisher Jenna Weatherred of the free ads.Emerald said the Idol ad was the first one he has run in Colorado. He started the newspaper pranks a few years ago, and now its nearly a full-time hobby for the stay-at-home dad, Emerald said.Despite Emeralds apparent surplus of time, he said he doesnt answer all the phone calls he receives in response to the ads. Instead, he screens them.Its not possible to take every call, he said. Im usually looking at the caller ID. Its just nonstop.

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