MIAMI — Without saying a word, the teenager accused in a two-year string of sometimes shoeless burglaries and other crimes that helped him gain international notoriety as the “Barefoot Bandit” agreed today to return to Washington state to face federal charges.
Hector Dopico, an assistant federal public defender temporarily representing 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore, told a federal judge that Harris-Moore waived his right to a hearing on whether he should be transferred to Seattle. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Dube said Harris-Moore would be handed over to the U.S. Marshals Service, which will handle his travel in the coming days.
Dopico also said he had been in contact with an attorney who will represent Harris-Moore in Seattle, but he did not name that lawyer. Harris-Moore’s mother has asked Seattle defense attorney John Henry Browne to represent her son.
Harris-Moore, clad in the typical tan jail jumpsuit, shackled at the wrists and ankles and wearing socks and sandals, said nothing during the brief hearing. Dopico said a bail hearing would likely be held in the coming weeks in federal court in Seattle.
The teen is suspected in about 70 crimes in eight states and British Columbia, some he allegedly committed shoeless. He was first arrested at age 12 and had been on the lam since escaping in 2008 from a halfway house.
Authorities say Harris-Moore stole an airplane from an Indiana airport and flew it to the Bahamas. They say he then commandeered a boat in a potential attempt to reach the more remote Turks and Caicos Islands and eventually hide in Cuba. But it all ended Sunday when police shot out the engine of Harris-Moore’s boat and took him into custody.
In addition to the worldwide media attention, Harris-Moore has become a folk hero of sorts, with his Facebook page listing more than 89,000 friends who frequently post messages of encouragement for his antics.
“You had a good run n now it’s over but the legacy will live on your still gunna be a hero ta me stay strong,” read one such posting Friday.
But another posting is less sympathetic: “No where to run baby … no where to hide.”
When he reaches Seattle, Harris-Moore will face a criminal complaint charging him with interstate transport of stolen property for allegedly stealing an aircraft from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, in 2009 and crash-landing it in Washington. Other arrest warrants charge him with fleeing prosecution and other crimes.
He is accused of crimes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.
At several crime scenes the FBI found bare footprints identified as those of Harris-Moore, according to court documents.