US attorney: ‘Barefoot Bandit’ extreme flight risk and danger, should be jailed until trial

By George Tibbits, AP
Thursday, July 22, 2010

US attorney: hold ‘Barefoot Bandit’ until trial

SEATTLE — Federal prosecutors are asking that the young man accused of being the “Barefoot Bandit” be jailed until his trial, saying there’s an “extreme risk” he will flee.

In court documents they also say 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore, who eluded police for more than two years and is suspected in a cross-country crime spree, poses a significant danger to the community.

Harris-Moore is to appear Thursday afternoon before a federal magistrate judge in Seattle for a procedural hearing on a charge stemming from the theft last fall of an airplane in Idaho.

The documents say Harris-Moore is the primary subject of at least 80 crimes. He escaped from a group home in 2008 and was arrested July 10 after allegedly crash-landing a stolen plane in the Bahamas.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

SEATTLE (AP) — 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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