Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Born to Run: Inside the Mind of the Barefoot Burglar

Born to run


Colton Harris-Moore
Colton Harris-Moore
But while psychological challenges, bad company and his abusive home life took their toll, Harris-Moore still showed signs of resourcefulness and resolve. Court records and psychological evaluations show that Harris-Moore did not seek to dull his pain through drugs or alcohol. In fact, court records indicate that his mother and her boyfriends' addictions served as real-life examples he did not want to follow. Instead of succumbing to depression and his other mental ills, Harris-Moore sought to escape by looking beyond the walls of his mother's trailer. When he started running away before he reached high-school age, Harris-Moore told a psychologist that he slept better and was happier the nights he slept outside in the woods.

Camano Island shares much of the natural beauty of Vancouver Island, less than 300 miles away, although its woods and pristine beaches do not draw tourists from around the world. Still, many well-to-do mainlanders, Boeing and Microsoft executives among them, have second homes there. Colton could easily, if he chose, break in and help himself to frozen pizzas and surf the Internet, watch TV, or just sleep in a comfortable bed.

"Whenever we were gone, he would use the place to get warm and take a shower," Robin Johnson Dettmer, the daughter of a nearby neighbor whose house Harris-Moore occasionally burglarized, noted.

"He never left a mess, ever. You never knew he was there except for the stolen things."

Camano Island
Camano Island

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