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Barefoot Bandit returns to Washington state

SEATTLE (AP) — The alleged “Barefoot Bandit” is back in Washington state, where authorities say he began a two-year multistate crime spree.

Colton Harris-Moore arrived Wednesday afternoon from Miami on a U.S. Marshals plane and was promptly transferred to a federal detention facility in SeaTac, Wash., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Emily Langlie said the 19-year-old is scheduled to make his initial court appearance before Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida on Thursday, when he will be advised of the charge against him and possible penalties. He’s been charged with stealing a plane in Bonners Ferry and crash-landing it in Granite Falls, Wash., last fall

Harris-Moore was arrested July 10 in the Bahamas a week after he reportedly crash-landed in a plane stolen from an Indiana airport.

Authorities in the sun-bathed Caribbean country launched an extensive manhunt for the teenager and arrested him as he tried to flee in a boat. His arrest ended a run from the law that started when he escaped from a halfway house in Washington state in April 2008.

The self-taught pilot is suspected of more than 70 crimes — including stealing several boats and five planes — across nine states.

Police dubbed Harris-Moore the “Barefoot Bandit” because he allegedly committed some of his crimes without shoes.

His spree turned him into a sort of folk hero, with more than 90,000 followers on a Facebook fan page.

Harris-Moore, who made an initial court appearances in Florida last week after returning to the country, faces a federal charge in the crash-landing of a plane stolen from Idaho last year.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office last week declined to comment on how the prosecution will proceed, except to say it is reviewing crimes attributed to Harris-Moore to see which might be prosecuted in federal court.

Police suspect he took stolen cars, a boat and planes across state lines, and interstate transportation of stolen property is a federal offense with a 10-year maximum sentence.

Messages to his mother, Pam Kohler, and his attorney, John Henry Browne, were not immediately returned.

Past coverage:

July 13: Barefoot Bandit’s tale turns to tricky legalities

July 11: Barefoot Bandit arrested after boat chase in Bahamas

Oct. 7: Teen bandit becoming national sensation

Barefoot Bandit appears in Miami courtroom

MIAMI (AP) — The teenager dubbed the “Barefoot Bandit” by authorities will cool his heels in a Miami jail at least two more days while he sorts out which attorney will represent him.

At his first U.S. court appearance Wednesday since his arrest in the Bahamas, Colton Harris-Moore, 19, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Dube he thought his mother had hired a lawyer but he didn’t know the attorney’s name.

“I’d like to speak with my mom first,” said Harris-Moore, dressed in a standard tan prison jumpsuit, sandals and white socks. He added that he last spoke to his mother, Pam Kohler, “about a week ago.”

“She said that she hired one,” he said. “I have not met with him yet.”

Dube set another hearing for Friday morning to determine Harris-Moore’s legal representation, whether he should be released on bail and when he should return to Seattle to face an alleged two-year string of crimes.

Harris-Moore is suspected in about 70 burglaries, thefts and other property crimes in eight states and British Columbia, including thefts of aircraft — one of which he allegedly flew from Indiana to the Bahamas.

Kohler has asked Seattle defense attorney John Henry Browne to represent her son in the criminal case, which currently involves the alleged theft of a plane in Bonners Ferry that was crashed in Washington state.

Browne has said he will handle it if Harris-Moore agrees. Another attorney, O. Yale Lewis, is helping Kohler with media and entertainment requests.

Harris-Moore was deported by the Bahamas to the U.S. on Tuesday, shortly after pleading guilty to illegally entering the island nation east of Miami.

Harris-Moore’s long odyssey on the lam ended Sunday after police ended a high-speed boat chase by shooting out the vessel’s engine. Harris-Moore’s attorney in the Bahamas, Monique Gomez, said the U.S. Embassy there would pay the teenager’s $300 fine.

Authorities say he earned the “Barefoot Bandit” nickname by committing some crimes while shoeless, and in February he he allegedly drew chalk-outline feet all over the floor of a grocery store during a burglary in Washington’s San Juan Islands.

Harris-Moore told police in the Bahamas that he came there because it has numerous islands, airports and docks.

The teenager claimed that he told islanders he was trying to get to Cuba so he could throw police off his trail, but he intended to make his way to the Turks and Caicos Islands southeast of the Bahamas, police said.

Past coverage:

July 13: Barefoot Bandit’s tale turns to tricky legalities

July 11: Barefoot Bandit arrested after boat chase in Bahamas

Oct. 7: Teen bandit becoming national sensation

Barefoot Bandit’s tale turns to tricky legalities

SEATTLE — With Colton Harris-Moore locked up in a Bahamian jail, federal prosecutors in Seattle are compiling evidence of his alleged crimes on U.S. soil over the past two years, a process made even more difficult by the numerous jurisdictions claiming visits by the so-called “Barefoot Bandit.”

The number of federal and state charges that could be filed against the 19-year-old Camano Island man, let alone the amount or prison time he could face if convicted, is not yet clear. Once Harris-Moore is extradited to Seattle, a grand jury will review a case involving the theft of an airplane in Idaho — the sole federal charge filed against Harris-Moore — and additional charges could potentially be tacked on at that time, authorities said.

Over the past several weeks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darwin Roberts has been in contact with police and prosecutors in states where Harris-Moore is suspected of committing crimes — a list that includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Wyoming and Nebraska — to find out how the prosecution should proceed, said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle. He is suspected of burglarizing dozens of homes, and stealing cars, boats and at least five airplanes during a run from the law that began with his 2008 escape from a Seattle-area halfway house.

Read the rest of the story by Seattle Times reporter Jennifer Sullivan by clicking the link below.

Past coverage:

July 12: Barefoot Bandit to face Bahamian judge

Feb. 11: Stolen plane, chalk drawn feet: Teen burglar back?

Oct. 7: Teen bandit becoming national sensation

Barefoot Bandit arrested on boat in Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — The teenage “Barefoot Bandit” who allegedly stole cars, boats and airplanes to dodge U.S. law enforcement was nabbed today as he tried to make a water escape then brought handcuffed — and shoeless — to the capital, abruptly ending his two-year life on the lam.

Colton Harris-Moore was arrested before dawn in northern Eleuthera, said Sgt. Chrislyn Skippings, a spokeswoman for the Royal Bahamas Police Force. A contingent of high-ranking officers traveled to the island and took the suspect to Nassau, the country’s capital, where he faces possible extradition to the United States.

True to his nickname, the 19-year-old suspect was barefoot as he stepped off the plane. He kept his head down and ignored questions shouted by reporters.

Escorted by six police cars and SUVs, the teen had close-shorn hair and wore short camouflage cargo pants, a white long-sleeved shirt and a bulletproof vest. Police blocked traffic on the route to the Central Detective Unit where he was taken for processing. Island police had been searching for the wily fugitive since he allegedly crash-landed a stolen plane a week ago on nearby Great Abaco Island, where he was blamed for a string of at least seven break-ins.

Authorities caught Harris-Moore on Harbour Island, a small tourist destination just off mainland Eleuthera, police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade told a news conference.

Harris-Moore was carrying a handgun that he tried to throw away and shots were fired during a water chase, Greenslade said. He did not say who fired them.

“It was like something you might see in the movies,” Greenslade said.

Earlier Sunday, a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to discuss the case said Harris-Moore initially attempted to flee but police shot out the engine on his boat.

He added that the suspect was examined by a doctor and appeared to be in good health. He will be taken to court this week and arraigned on charges including theft and burglary in the Bahamas, the commissioner said, noting that these charges will take priority over those pending against him in the United States.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Jeff Dubel, praised the “outstanding efforts” of the Bahamian authorities who captured the teen.

Read the rest of the AP story by clicking the link below.

Teen bandit may have stolen boat to escape

MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas (AP) — A teen fugitive from Washington who has successfully eluded teams of local police and FBI agents may have slipped off the island where he allegedly crash-landed a stolen plane nearly a week ago, police said today.

Authorities are investigating a report that Colton Harris-Moore, dubbed the “Barefoot Bandit,” has fled Great Abaco Island and was spotted on Eleuthera, about 40 miles to the south, two police officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly on the search. Bahamian National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest declined to comment.

It was unclear how the 19-year-old fugitive might have escaped the island, but a powerboat was stolen in Marsh Harbour.

The 44-foot boat was reported missing Thursday from the marina on Great Abaco Island, said Harry Mountain, a regional manager for The Moorings hotel and marina resort in Marsh Harbour.

The teen already is accused in a federal complaint of stealing a small plane from the Boundary County Airport last fall.

Investigators have been searching the 120-mile-long, boomerang-shaped island for Harris-Moore since he allegedly crash-landed a stolen plane in a marsh at its southern tip Sunday.

Working with the FBI, island soldiers and police have also been patrolling ports and airports to cut off potential escape routes for the wily convict, accused of dozens of burglaries in the U.S.

The marina where the boat was stolen is next door to a restaurant, Curly Tails, where the teen was allegedly caught on surveillance footage during a break-in about 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Police were investigating at least six other burglaries stretching from the island’s southern point to Marsh Harbour, a town of about 5,500 people.

About a dozen boats are stolen from the area each year, mostly by drug traffickers who target those with powerful outboard engines, said boat renter Tim Roberts. The latest theft, however, involved a cruiser with an inboard engine — a boat resembling one which Harris-Moore allegedly stole while fleeing the law in the United States.

Harris-Moore, who grew up in the woods of Washington state’s Camano Island, has been on the run since escaping from a halfway house more than two years ago. The teen had several run-ins with police by the time he was 13 and is suspected of stealing cars, boats and at least five planes during his run, despite no formal flight training.

Harris-Moore earned the “Barefoot Bandit” nickname because he allegedly went shoeless for some of his crimes and once left behind chalk footprints as his calling card.

Barefoot Bandit linked to Bahamas break-ins

MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas (AP) — A teenage fugitive from Washington with a celebrated history of escapes has allegedly committed several nighttime burglaries in the Bahamas, eluding an FBI-aided manhunt on the sliver of an island where he crash-landed a stolen plane.

Investigators pursuing Colton Harris-Moore were following a trail of break-ins from the southern tip of Great Abaco Island, where the 19-year-old convict ditched the plane Sunday, to the main town of Marsh Harbour 50 miles away where the teen was recognized on surveillance footage of a restaurant burglary.

The Bahamas caper of the teen dubbed as the “Barefoot Bandit” began when he guided the single-engine Cessna into clear blue, knee-deep waters at a sparsely populated corner of the sun-soaked island. He apparently followed a peninsula of land to the town of Sandy Point, and he was reportedly seen walking across a road around the time a service station was burglarized Sunday night.

His arrival coincided with an annual regatta that may make it easy for him to blend in among the crowds of visiting tourists. It also came just before the unsealing of a complaint in U.S. District Court that accuses him of stealing a plane from the Boundary County Airport last fall.

A Royal Bahamian Police Force bulletin warned that the 19-year-old should be considered “armed and dangerous.” The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to his capture.

Bar and restaurant owner Alistair McDonald said he was one of the thief’s latest victims.

McDonald said surveillance video captured the suspect inside his establishment in Great Abaco’s Marsh Harbour (pictured above) before dawn Tuesday. He said the teen at one point looked directly into a security camera, then shone a flashlight into it to blur the image and turned all three security cameras to face the wall.

“He seemed pretty relaxed and at ease,” McDonald said, adding he thinks the thief was looking for money or got spooked because he left without stealing anything, not even a bottle of water. He gave the tape to police.

Service station owner Dwight Pinder (right) said his shop on the southern tip of Great Abaco was burglarized Sunday night, shortly after the plane crash in a nearby marsh. The thief stole a Gatorade and two packets of potato chips, leaving a bundle of food and drinks on the counter — a sign he apparently left in a rush.

Pinder told The Associated Press that the thief was so skilled that he didn’t even scratch the lock he picked.

A nearby house was also burglarized, with the thief making off with a brown Chevrolet Tahoe that was later found abandoned in the town of Marsh Harbour.

Read the rest of the story by clicking the link below.

Barefoot Bandit’s mom: Phone home, Colt

As authorities search the Bahamas for Colton Harris-Moore, his mother has sent a message to him through The Associated Press.

“Colt is not to be flying a single engine-plane,” said Pam Kohler, saying she was worried about engine failure. “When I heard that, that just upset me. The rules are, he carries a parachute with him and he takes two-engine planes. Tell him he needs to call me.”

Kohler said she wasn’t surprised her 19-year-old son might be able to make the 1,000-mile trip after teaching himself how to fly. She has publicly defended him and claims the allegations against him are exaggerated.

She told the AP that she would have preferred a country that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States. ”

The furthest he gets from the U.S., the better,” Kohler said from her home in Camano Island in Washington state. “I’m glad he’s able to enjoy beautiful islands, but they extradite. It doesn’t help matters at all.”

Authorities are now hunting for Harris-Moore — known as the Barefoot Bandit for allegedly committing some crimes while shoeless — on an island hosting hundreds of tourists for an annual sailing regatta that could help the lanky, blue-eyed teen pull off another escape.

“He’s not in custody as yet. We’re following some leads and we’re working with the Abaco community to try and find him. Hopefully we should find him,” Assistant Police Commissioner Glenn Miller said Tuesday.

Police in the Bahamas launched a fruitless search for him Monday night in wooded areas around Sandy Point, near the mangrove wetlands at the island’s southern tip where a plane stolen in Indiana landed on Sunday.

Caroline Smith, a clerk at a marina in Marsh Harbour, a town on Great Abaco, said the manhunt on the typically sleepy island of 16,000 has inhabitants buzzing with rumors.

“I’ve heard he stole a car. Someone else says he stole a boat. Everybody’s talking a whole lot,” Smith said today. “But I can tell you, there were three break-ins on Monday night, which is really unusual for us.”

A federal complaint was unsealed Tuesday charging Harris-Moore with the theft of a small plane from the airport in Bonners Ferry last fall. Read my story here.

Past coverage

June 22: Has the Barefoot Bandit hit the Midwest?

June 3: $50,000 for Barefoot Bandit’s surrender

Feb. 11: Stolen plane, chalk drawn feet: Teen burglar back?

Oct. 7: Teen bandit becoming national sensation

Oct. 2: Teen fugitive may have stolen Cessna

Has the Barefoot Bandit hit the Bahamas?

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Police were hunting across a tourist island Tuesday for signs of a pilot who vanished after wrecking a small plane in the Bahamas and investigators in the U.S. turned their suspicions toward an American teenager on the run dubbed “the Barefoot Bandit.”

The single-engine Cessna that crashed in shallow waters off Abaco island was apparently stolen from an airport in Bloomington, Indiana. By the time  rescuers arrived on Sunday, nobody was inside.

The 2009 Cessna 400 Corvalis was stolen over the weekend from the Monroe County Airport, the facility’s manager, Bruce Payton said. It was unclear how the thief got into the airport, which has a 10-foot security fence with barbed wire and coded access gates.

U.S. authorities said the heist has similarities to other thefts attributed to 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore, a Washington state teenager who has no formal flight training, including the theft of a Cessna from the airport in Bonners Ferry last fall.

The teen got his nickname for allegedly committing crimes while shoeless. He is suspected of stealing cars and small airplanes to evade authorities since escaping from a halfway house near Seattle in 2008.

Payton said a detective with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department told him authorities had recovered a stolen vehicle about a half-mile from the Indiana airport and the “the details of the stolen vehicle seemed to fit that of the pattern known as the Barefoot Bandit.”

FBI Special Agent Steven Dean said surveillance video taken from the Monroe County Airport also indicates that Harris-Moore is responsible for the theft, according to KOMO-TV in Seattle.

An FBI statement posted on the web site of the U.S. Embassy in Nassau said Harris-Moore may have recent injuries and urged anyone who sees him to contact the nearest Bahamas police station. It said the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

A team of detectives in this island chain off the Florida coast traveled from Nassau, the capital, on Tuesday to join the investigation and aid the search for the pilot in Abaco, police Sgt. Chrislyn Skippings said. She said authorities had not confirmed the plane was the same aircraft stolen from Indiana.

The plane was reported missing Sunday after the owner received a call from the U.S. Coast Guard that the emergency locator transmitter on the plane was sending out a beacon signal off the coast of the Bahamas, Payton said.

Meanwhile, Bahamas police received a report of a wrecked plane and requested assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, which dispatched a Falcon jet from Miami to fly over the area. The jet did not find any sign of bodies, said Petty officer Sabrina Elgammal, a Coast Guard spokeswoman in Miami.

Last week, police in Nebraska issued a warrant for his arrest, and police in South Dakota confirmed his fingerprints were found at a burglary scene.

Past coverage:

June 22: Has the Barefoot Bandit hit the Midwest?

June 3: $50,000 for Barefoot Bandit’s surrender

Feb. 11: Stolen plane, chalk drawn feet: Teen burglar back?

Oct. 7: Teen bandit becoming national sensation

Prints link Barefoot Bandit to South Dakota

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — Fingerprints found at the scene of a Yankton burglary match those of the “Barefoot Bandit,” South Dakota authorities confirm. 

Yankton assistant police chief Jerry Hisek says he was notified today that state Division of Criminal Investigation found three of 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore’s fingerprints at the scene of a June 18 break-in.

The teen (pictured) had already been named a suspect. Harris-Moore, of Camano Island, Wash., has evaded authorities since April 2008, when he escaped from a halfway house south of Seattle.

He is accused of breaking into dozens of homes since and committing burglaries across the region and into the Midwest, including the theft of a small airplane from the Boundary County Airport.

Police in Nebraska issued a warrant for Harris-Moore’s arrest this week.

Past coverage

June 22: Has the Barefoot Bandit hit the Midwest?

June 3: $50,000 for Barefoot Bandit’s surrender

Feb. 11: Stolen plane, chalk drawn feet: Teen burglar back?

Oct. 7: Teen bandit becoming national sensation

Nebraska warrant issued for Barefoot Bandit

NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) — Police have issued an arrest warrant for a teen burglar known as “The Barefoot Bandit” after surveillance cameras apparently captured images of him at a northeast Nebraska airport the same day that an SUV was stolen from there.

Police have also collected fingerprints that could link 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore to the theft of the Cadillac Escalade from the municipal airport near Norfolk earlier this month, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The vehicle later turned up nearly 240 miles away in Pella, Iowa. The affidavit said police believe Harris-Moore was also involved in the theft of a car from Yankton, S.D. — which turned up in Norfolk — and another vehicle taken from a small airport near Pella.

Harris-Moore, a 6-foot-5 fugitive from Camano Island, Wash., escaped from a halfway house south of Seattle in April 2008.

Authorities believe he has since broken into dozens of homes and committed numerous burglaries across the Northwest, stealing boats, cars and even small airplanes, including a theft at the Boundary County Airport last year.

Norfolk detectives sent the surveillance video they believe shows Harris-Moore from the Norfolk airport to the Seattle office of the FBI and the Island County, Wash., Sheriff’s Department.

The Nebraska warrant charges Harris-Moore with burglary and theft. Harris-Moore, whose nickname arose from his penchant for committing crimes without shoes, has become notorious, with a Facebook fan page that boasts more than 42,000 followers.

Rolling Stone magazine also published a story on his exploits in May.

Past coverage:

June 22: Has the Barefoot Bandit hit the Midwest?

June 3: $50,000 for Barefoot Bandit’s surrender

Feb. 11: Stolen plane, chalk drawn feet: Teen burglar back?

Oct. 7: Teen bandit becoming national sensation

Oct. 2: Stolen plane may be the work of teen bandit