Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Colton Harris-Moore, Tale of a Teenage Outlaw

Barefoot Burglar

For the culprit, the writing was on the wall. Or, more literally, his footprints were.

Colton Harris-Moore
Colton Harris-Moore
Police found prints on the wall of an airport hangar near the Canadian border in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, after a single-engine airplane was stolen and flown west halfway across the state of Washington. The plane was totaled when it crash-landed in Granite Falls after running out of gas.

"We all think we know who it is," said the Idaho sheriff in the town where the plane was stolen.

When investigators surveyed the Idaho hangar, they found evidence the culprit had taken his time and relaxed before stealing the Cessna 182 Turbo. Not only were the suspect's footprints on the wall, there were signs he'd been munching food with his feet up before leaving for a joyride with the sunrise at his back on September 29, 2009.

Most surprising of all, the person suspected of stealing the plane may be a teenager who learned to fly by reading a how-to manual and playing flight simulator video games.

Colton Harris-Moore has spent his teenage years in trouble with the law in the Pacific Northwest. He's suspected of stealing at least three planes, a boat and a car as well as committing over 100 burglaries after walking out of a halfway house where he was serving a 3-year sentence. He's left notes for police and his victims and in the process become notorious around the world for allegedly committing crimes that mix hubris, cleverness, and cunning.

Harris-Moore, who is known as Colt and dubbed the "Barefoot Burglar" by the media, remains a fugitive from justice. He is wanted in two states and got the attention of the FBI and the Canadian Mounties. Time magazine called him "America's Most Wanted Teenage Bandit."

His mother has publicly encouraged him to stay on the run; a t-shirt shop sells shirts that says, "Fly, Colton, Fly!" A Colton Harris-Moore page on Facebook has been growing every day and has almost 25,000 fans offering encouragement to the teen.

Authorities are not amused. Not only have the police been dealing with Colton Harris-Moore since before he was 12, they say his crimes are getting more brazen. One recent theft in particular could mean serious danger.

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