Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Colton Harris-Moore, Tale of a Teenage Outlaw

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In July 2006, when Colton Harris-Moore was 15 years old, prosecutors accused him of using a stolen credit card number to purchase $3,700 worth of electronics. When he failed to show up in court for the charges, police issued an arrest warrant and began a search for the missing teen, who was all too willing to run away from criminal prosecution.

Police had been frustrated before by Harris-Moore's ability to disappear into the wilderness. After Harris-Moore burglarized the Stanwood library in 2005, investigators found a campsite the young man was using as a hideout. Although they found a lot of empty pizza boxes, police didn't find their suspect. To catch him, they waited until the next time the boy ordered a pizza, and a police officer posed as the delivery man.

Colton Harris-Moore
Colton Harris-Moore
After police issued his arrest warrant in July 2006, it took them seven months to catch Colton Harris-Moore. While the teen was evading the law, investigators discovered a campsite on his mother's property with stolen goods. Not only did they suspect him of breaking into homes and vehicles, authorities believed he was buying survival gear over the internet with stolen credit card numbers and then receiving the deliveries.

Colton Harris-Moore was eventually discovered on Feb. 9, 2007, after a nighttime tip led Island County police to a home that should have been vacant. When they discovered the lights were on, police surrounded the house and got Harris-Moore's mother to talk her son into surrendering.

"He thinks it's easy," his mother, Pam Kohler, told writer Bob Friel, who lives on a neighboring island. "He's sure making them look like fools."

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