Bounty Hunters Sent After “Barefoot Bandit”
June 3, 2010 —Residents of Camano Island, Washington are turning to local bounty hunters to try and catch Colton Harris-Moore also known as the 'Barefoot Bandit', according to Q13Fox.com. Island County, Washington law enforcement believes Colton is responsible for a crime spree involving over 100 burglaries and thefts throughout the Pacific Northwest, including several private aircraft. Since walking out of a halfway house in April 2008, Harris-Moore has survived on his own by plundering vacation homes on his home island of Camano and neighboring Orcas island. His story has stirred an internet following since it has been reported the teenager taught himself how to fly using books and desktop computer flight simulators.
On Camano island, residents have hired bounty hunters and are offering a $6500 reward for information leading to Harris-Moore’s capture. Local bounty hunters believe they have a better chance of catching him since they have much more time to devote to the hunt than local law enforcement.
The Island County Sheriff’s department suspects that Colton stole two of their boats last month, however they are not endorsing the initiative by the citizens to use bounty hunters and will not provide resources or information towards those efforts.
Since the spring of 2008, Colton has escalated his crimes by stealing private speed boats for raids to neighboring islands. He has stolen as least three Cessna aircraft flying one 300 miles before crashing it in the Idaho wilderness. His self-taught flying skills seemed to improve with each theft as each a subsequently stolen aircraft was found with less damage and evidence that he was configuring the aircraft properly for landing. In the past few months Colton was suspected of stealing an assault rifle during one break-in and is now considered armed and dangerous.
Harris-Moore earned the ‘barefoot’ moniker when he kicked off his shoes before fleeing police. Colton had an abusive father who walked out on him early in life and has since been raised by his mother. Authorities believe part of the reason he breaks into homes is to experience the life he wish he had growing up since many of the crime scenes show evidence that Colton has drawn a hot bath and eaten mint-chip ice cream out of the freezer. He often leaves taunting notes to the police, sometimes leaving chalk outlines of his feet.
The adventures of Colton Harris-Moore have fostered a fascination on the internet where a fan base has formed including a Facebook fan page, T-shirts for sale, and a ballad on YouTube. While he is admired by some from afar, the residents of the islands of the northern Puget Sound region are doing everything they can to put find a nice pair of Island County Jail issued shoes for the ‘Barefoot Bandit’.