Teenage Barefoot Bandit Captured in Bahamas After Two Years On the Run

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After eluding capture for two years, during which time he is suspected to have stolen at least five planes, a boat and two cars, as well as to have committed over 100 burglaries of private residences and small businesses, the so-called “Barefoot Bandit” has been captured.

Colton Harris-Moore, 19, was captured in northern Eleuthera, Bahamas, after allegedly flying there in a stolen plane. He had been indicted in the transport of another stolen plane to Indiana in early July. Several sightings of the notorious teenager by local residents helped lead Bahamian police to him at a local marina, where they were able to arrest Harris-Moore after shooting out the engine of a boat he was attempting to steal.

Harris-Moore began living in the Pacific Northwest forests at the age of seven, supporting himself by breaking into vacation homes to steal blankets and provisions. His first stolen-property conviction came at age 12, with three more the following year, and has bounced in and out of juvenile detention centers ever since. In 2008, he slipped away from a Washington state halfway house, and has been camping out in the woods of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.

The teenager is believed to have been responsible for dozens of robberies, usually of private homes. In some instances, he would break into a home to bathe or eat; in others, he stole money and credit cards, with which he ordered night-vision goggles, flashlights, pepper spray, police scanners and other survivalist gear. Harris-Moore is said to have committed many of the break-ins while barefoot, leading to the nickname “Barefoot Bandit,” and has even taunted police by drawing chalk footprints at some of the locations he burglarized.

Although Harris-Moore hasn’t finished high school, he has taught himself how to fly small aircraft using manuals, handbooks, and flight simulation games. He is accused of stealing bicycles, automobiles, speedboats and aircraft, including a Cessna 182 belonging to a radio personality, which Harris-Moore crashed on the Yakima Indian Reservation. Another Cessna, reported stolen from an airport in Bloomington, Indiana, was found crashed on the shore of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, after which island residents reported a string of break-ins and thefts. Police recovered a 44-foot power boat that had been reported stolen by marina, then picked up the trail of the fugitive teen. Harris-Moore was carrying a handgun with which he first threatened to shoot himself, then threw away. Authorities have also recovered a laptop computer and a GPS device belonging to the suspect.

Harris-Moore is currently being held in Nassau, Bahamas, and will be tried for crimes committed in that country before being extradited to the United States, where he will face charges including interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft, escape and burglary.

 

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