'Barefoot Bandit' Colton Harris-Moore gets more than 7 years for crime spree
Colton Harris-Moore, the youthful thief who rocketed to international notoriety as the 'Barefoot Bandit', was sentenced to more than seven years after pleading guilty to dozens of charges, including burglary and identity theft, stemming from his crime spree.
(Page 2 of 2)
He had no idea what he was in for, he wrote: Heading over the Cascade Mountains in 50 mph winds in November was something experienced pilots would have known to avoid. Instead, he found himself in a spinning dive. Somehow, he said, he pulled himself out of it before destroying the plane in a crash-landing on the Yakama Indian Reservation.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
He said he'll use his prison time to study and get ready to apply to college, with the hope of earning an aeronautical engineering degree.
Harris-Moore's first conviction came at age 12, in 2004, for possession of stolen property, and according to the reports, his first experience with burglary came when he broke into the homes of his classmates to steal food because his mother spent most of her Social Security income on beer and cigarettes – something she has denied.
Over the next three years he was convicted of theft, burglary, malicious mischief, and assault, among other crimes.
In 2007, the boy was sentenced to three years in a juvenile lockup after pleading guilty to three burglary counts in Island County. But he fled the minimum-security facility in April 2008 and was soon back to his old tricks, breaking into unoccupied vacation homes, stealing food and sometimes staying there. Some of the crimes were committed barefoot, which is where he got the moniker.
As red-faced investigators repeatedly failed to catch him, his antics escalated: He began stealing planes from small, rural airports and crash-landing them – at least five in all.
Waves of burglaries broke out on Orcas Island, where Kyle Ater runs his Homegrown Market and Deli, in late 2009 and in early 2010, after stolen planes were found at the airport there. The second time, Harris-Moore left Ater's new security system in a utility sink, under a running faucet.
Harris-Moore's final spree came after he stole a pistol in eastern British Columbia and took a plane from a hangar in Idaho, where investigators found bare footprints on the floor and wall. That plane crashed near Granite Falls, Wash., after it ran out of fuel.
He made his way to Oregon in a 32-foot boat stolen in southwestern Washington – stopping first to leave $100 at an animal shelter in Raymond, Wash. From Oregon, authorities said, Harris-Moore traveled across the United States, frequently stealing cars from the parking lots of small airports. In Indiana, he stole another plane and made for the Bahamas, more than 1,000 miles away, where authorities finally caught him in a manhunt that spanned multiple islands.
Among the courtroom spectators Friday were 18-year-olds Annie Cain and Hayley Hanna, who drove from nearby Langley to be at the courthouse at 5:30 a.m. – four hours before the hearing.
"We wanted to be here just because he's so young, and everything he did, it's fascinating," Cain said.
Fox bought the movie rights in a deal that could be worth $1.3 million, and Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for writing the movie "Milk," about the gay rights activist Harvey Milk, is working on the screenplay.
Harris-Moore doesn't get to keep any of the money under the terms of his federal plea deal.