By J.M. BROWNThe news that private investigators are on the hunt for UFO evidence in Capitola hit the tiny beach town like a meteor Wednesday as TV and Internet chatter about last summer's alleged sighting escalated and residents came out of the woodwork to report other strange sightings.
San Jose Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
Wednesday's Sentinel article about the work of two retired cops to find the man who allegedly took a photograph of a supposed alien drone drew a lot of speculation and media attention, but no new evidence for police, Chief Richard J. Ehle said.
After a photograph of the alleged drone appeared in the newspaper, Ehle said his agency did not receive any calls Wednesday from residents saying they remembered seeing the UFO. In the 10 months since the photograph first appeared online, no one has ever called to say they saw the UFO, he said.
The only people he talked to about the case Wednesday were TV reporters. Saying he firmly believed the photo is a hoax, Ehle declined to take a look at e-mails sent to the Sentinel from residents who reported other sightings dating back eight years ago. "I'm done," Ehle said.
But T.K. Davis isn't.
The former Santa Clara County sheriff deputy who was hired by members of the Open Minds Forum Web site to investigate the authenticity of the photo, said he responded to at least five interview requests from national and local TV and print media Wednesday, and received several dozen new e-mails and phone calls from tipsters. He said he passed the tips along to his clients to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Davis, a Saratoga resident, said he and partner Frankie Dixon, who lives in Capitola, will eventually go back to the streets, trying to find out where the photo was reportedly taken on May 16. He said the pair will widen their search to streets in nearby towns, and will try to draw out from cyberspace people from three other areas in California who have reported seeing similar objects.
Davis said the man who allegedly took the photograph in Capitola and shared it with Open Minds Forum disappeared after getting spooked.
Because there isn't any definitive evidence yet, Davis said he can't say the photo is real, but added, "The more research we've done, I'm leading towards believing. I'm not a skeptic anymore."
Bloggers on UFO sites and enthusiasts who contacted the Sentinel Wednesday say the photo is a hoax, saying signs of digital manipulation are evident. But several residents said the story confirmed suspicions that they had seen a UFO years ago.
Mayor Kirby Nicol said he had never heard of the UFO report before Wednesday, but said he wasn't worried about the cosmic publicity blitz for Capitola, a city that feeds on tourism.
"There's no such thing as bad publicity," he said.