Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Colton Harris-Moore, Tale of a Teenage Outlaw

Another Escape

Sometime before a nighttime bed check on April 29, 2008, Colton Harris-Moore slipped out a window at his halfway house and disappeared. He has been on the run for the almost two years since then.

After Harris-Moore's escape from Griffin Home, where he was serving time for burglarizing homes on Camano Island, police on the island noticed something alarming. There were suddenly a lot more robberies. There were 41 burglaries on the small island in the months after Harris-Moore's escape.

Investigators suspected the teen had come home and was camping in the woods again, living off items he stole from houses and cars. The Island County Sheriff's Office organized search parties and stakeouts and even used a tracking dog trying to find Harris-Moore. All attempts failed.

In July 2008, a public meeting was held for the community to voice their concerns and frustrations that a fugitive teenager seemed to have free rein in a place where people previously felt safe and could leave their doors unlocked.

Locals and police have referred to Colton Harris-Moore as a "feral kid" who has adjusted to living between the wilderness and civilization.

Carol Star, whose house is next door to Pam Kohler's trailer, says Harris-Moore has burglarized her house three times. On one occasion, police say, the teen stole her Mercedes-Benz C-Class while she was on vacation.

"I'm afraid he's going to break in when I'm there," Star told The Seattle Times. "You feel so violated."

At almost midnight on July 17, 2008, a sheriff's deputy encountered Star's Mercedes near a grocery store and tried to stop it. According to witnesses, Colton Harris-Moore jumped from the moving car and disappeared into the woods. The car continued to roll, almost hitting a propane tank and coming to rest near a 20-foot cliff.

Left behind in the car was a piece of evidence that captivated not just investigators but the media, too.

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