Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Colton Harris-Moore, Tale of a Teenage Outlaw

Early Troubles

Camano Island lies in Puget Sound about 60 miles from Seattle but feels a world away. Accessible by a bridge on the northern tip, the island's population of 13,347 swells by thousands more in the summer.

Camano Island
Camano Island

The island features two state parks, views of the Olympic Mountains; 70 percent of its land is wooded. All of this adds up to create a beautiful, rural environment that draws Microsoft retirees, second homebuyers, artists and outdoorsmen.

The chamber of commerce web site for the island advertises its bed and breakfasts, galleries and country-style grocery stores as places for the "elite few." Investigators say these "elite few," especially those with unoccupied homes, provided ample opportunities for a young man to get himself into trouble.

Colton Harris-Moore, younger
Colton Harris-Moore, younger
Colton Harris-Moore was born on Camano Island on March 22, 1991. He received his first criminal conviction in 2003, when he was 12 years old. Before he turned 13, he had been convicted of possession of stolen property, burglary, malicious mischief, assault and theft. Over the bridge on the mainland, he stole a laptop from a mortgage company and a walkie-talkie and video camera from Stanwood Middle School before vandalizing the school. According to court documents, when the principal confronted him about the stolen electronics, Harris-Moore said he couldn't stop stealing and didn't know why.

The boy's thieving ways weren't a surprise to his neighbors. According to a story in The Seattle Times, local residents warned each other about Harris-Moore.

Colton Harris-Moore's neighbors described him as clean-cut and personable but also clever and cunning. "He could win you over, convince you he needs support and resources," said Island County Sheriff's Sgt. Brian Legasse in 2007, "and then break into your home, too."

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