‘Barefoot Bandit’ returns to Washington state after arrest in Bahamas

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

‘Barefoot Bandit’ returns to Washington state

SEATTLE — 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.

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

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