Fed jury indicts teen in ’Barefoot Bandit’ thefts
Thursday, November 11, 2010
SEATTLE (AP) — The teenager accused of being the “Barefoot Bandit” has been indicted on an array of charges following an alleged two-year crime spree from Washington state to the Caribbean that drew widespread attention as well as movie and book offers.
A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted Colton Harris-Moore, 19, on five counts, including interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft and being a fugitive in possession of a firearm, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
Harris-Moore faces up to 10 years in prison each on four of the counts. He remains in a federal detention center in SeaTac, Wash., and is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Nov. 18.
“The grand jury action today is an important step in holding Colton Harris-Moore accountable for his criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
A message left with Harris-Moore’s attorney, John Henry Browne, was not immediately returned.
Harris-Moore, a self-taught pilot, is suspected in more than 80 crimes across nine states since authorities say he walked away from a halfway house in April 2008, many of them in Washington’s bucolic islands. He grew up in Camano Island, a quiet rural community in the Puget Sound north of Seattle.
After a two-year run from the law, he was caught July 10 in the Bahamas, a week after authorities say he crash-landed an airplane stolen from an Indiana airport. Bahamian authorities launched an extensive manhunt for the teenager and arrested him as he tried to flee in a boat.
Harris-Moore was deported by the Bahamas to the U.S. after pleading guilty to illegally entering the island nation east of Miami. The U.S. embassy paid a $300 fine on his behalf.
Harris-Moore’s alleged hometown exploits garnered attention in Washington state. But his notoriety took off after his alleged daring escape to the Caribbean.
Executives from movie and television production companies inquired about his story, prompting his mother — Pam Kohler — to hire a well-known entertainment lawyer to help her field unsolicited offers. A Harris-Moore fan club on Facebook boasts more than 23,000 members.
Police dubbed Harris-Moore the “Barefoot Bandit” because investigators say they found footprints identified as his at several crime scenes.
The grand jury focused on four different incidents. In one, Harris-Moore is accused of stealing a Cessna from Idaho and flying it to Washington state in September 2009. He’s also accused of stealing a boat from Washington and sailing it to Oregon in May of this year.
Prosecutors also say Harris-Moore stole a .32 caliber pistol in Canada and carried it to the United States.