After 2 years on the run, ‘Barefoot Bandit’ to make first federal court appearance in Seattle

By Manuel Valdes, AP
Thursday, July 22, 2010

‘Barefoot Bandit’ to make Seattle court appearance

SEATTLE — After a two-year run from the law that stretched across the nation and to the Bahamas, the young man accused of being the “Barefoot Bandit” is back in Washington state.

Colton Harris-Moore, 19, is scheduled to appear Thursday afternoon in federal court at his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida. It’s a procedural hearing during which he will be advised of the charge against him and possible penalties.

Harris-Moore was returned to Washington state Wednesday, stepping off a U.S. Marshals plane wearing a white shirt and khaki pants, TV news footage showed.

Currently, Harris-Moore faces a federal charge in the crash-landing of a plane stolen from Idaho last year. But U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Emily Langlie said federal investigators are still working with local officials in several states to parse through the crimes Harris-Moore is suspected of committing.

Harris-Moore was arrested July 10 in the Bahamas a week after he reportedly crash-landed in an airplane stolen from an Indiana airport. Authorities in the Caribbean country launched an extensive manhunt for the teenager and arrested him as he tried to flee in a boat. He was then transferred to Miami, where he made a court appearance.

His arrest ended a run from the law that started when he escaped in April 2008 from a halfway house in Washington state. 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’s accused of committing 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.

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 on Wednesday.

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