Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Colton Harris-Moore, Tale of a Teenage Outlaw

Still at Large

It was 1:15 a.m. when police began their search of a western part of Orcas Island, which Sheriff Bill Cumming described as "very isolated and very rugged" with "only a few homes" on which the search was centered.

Roads were blocked. FBI agents were called in. The U.S. Customs Department provided search dogs and air support. It seemed like Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Burglar" and self-taught pilot, was cornered.

But 15 hours after the search began, it was scaled down when police found no trace of their suspect.

It's now two years since he escaped the halfway house, and Colton Harris-Moore is 19 years old. In that time, he has gone from a being a "feral kid" sympathetic to neighbors to being a wanted man with numerous investigative agencies on his trail.

According to The Daily Herald of Snohomish County, Colton Harris-Moore is suspected of property crimes worth over $1.5 million. Although he has not been charged, he is the primary suspect in the theft of at least three airplanes, luxury cars, electronics and credit cards. While these are all property theft cases, police have more reason to worry about the "Barefoot Burglar": he may be armed and dangerous.

In June 2009, someone broke into a police cruiser parked outside an Island County deputy's home and stole an AR-15 assault rifle and ammunition.

Months later, before the plane was stolen from Bonners Ferry, police say the same thief who stole the Cessna 182 stole handguns, food and beer from an airport across the border in Creston, British Columbia. Could Colton Harris-Moore be armed and dangerous?

His mother says her son doesn't like guns and there's no way he's a danger. Police, however, have a different story.

Bob Friel
Bob Friel
During a search for the teen, police say they heard a gunshot while they were going through the woods.

With the two-year anniversary of his halfway house escape on April 29, 2010, the next chapter in Harris-Moore's saga has yet to be written. But there is one thing for sure: the story will have a buyer.

Writer and photographer Bob Friel, who was granted unprecedented access to interview Colton Harris-Moore's mother, recently confirmed that he is in talks with Fox for a deal to make a Hollywood movie about the fugitive.

Police, as well as his family and friends, are hoping for the same thing: a happy ending.

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