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‘Chex the Balloon Guy,’ 80, arrested on child porn charges

Paul Schuler, a popular figure at area children’s event as “Chex the Balloon Guy” who delighted children with his elaborate balloon creations, has been charged with possessing child pornography and promoting an obscene sexual performance of a child, both felonies, State Police announced Tuesday.

Paul Schuler, 80, of Akron, was arrested Sept. 10 on the charges by troopers and members of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Schuler has apparently been under investigation for several months.

Troopers served a search warrant Feb. 11, which resulted in the discovery of more than 400 images of child pornography, police said.

Investigators said Schuler was a volunteer with the Cub Scouts in addition to being “Chex the Balloon Guy.”

Schuler was arraigned in the Town of Newstead Court and remanded to the Erie County Jail in lieu of $3,000 bail.

Schuler is well known throughout Western New York as a balloon animal maker.

Just this August, the Genesee Country Farmers Market made an announcement on its Facebook page about a scheduled appearance: “A special day at the GCFM on Friday when Chex the Balloon Guy will be joining us. Watch this talented artist shape and create amazing animals from colorful balloons. He’s joined us before and he’s here again!”

A Facebook post from the event shows him wearing a funny red hat, bright yellow shirt and black and white striped pants as he made one of his balloon creations in front of a couple of young children.

Other Facebook posts from parents show their children showing off their balloon creations.

A Buffalo News article about the 2013 Easter season at the Broadway Market mentions a young child who took home a dragonfly-shaped balloon made by Schuler.

email: mbecker@buffnews.com