Authorities tie Harris-Moore to Island Market break-in; $20,000 arrest warrant issued
By SCOTT RASMUSSEN
Journal of the San Juans Editor
October 7, 2009 · Updated 5:14 PM
No more is Western Washington's most infamous teenage fugitive simply a suspect in San Juan County — he's a wanted man.
On Friday, a $20,000 warrant was issued in San Juan County Superior Court for the arrest of Colton Harris-Moore in connection with the Sept. 8 break-in at Island Market in Eastsound. The 18-year-old Camano Island man is accused of one count of second-degree burglary, a Class B felony, for allegedly breaking into the store.
It could be just the beginning, however, as local law enforcement officials believe Harris-Moore, now the subject of a statewide manhunt, may be responsible for nearly two dozen burglaries and thefts in the San Juans in the past year, mostly on Orcas Island and primarily in Eastsound and surrounding areas.
Sheriff Bill Cumming said officers expect to tie the teen — who has generated headlines nationwide for the brazen nature of his alleged crimes, which include the theft of two boats and at least one airplane — to several other local crimes, based on evidence still under review.
"What we've done is focused on the one case we have very good evidence on," Cumming said. "There's truth and then there's legal truth, and the reality is that in order to have a case that's strong enough to move forward with you have to be able to prove it in court beyond a reasonable doubt."
According to court documents, surveillance cameras caught a man fitting Harris-Moore's description inside Island Market on the night the store was burglarized. Cameras filmed the suspect walking around with an arm slung across his face. Detectives believe the person in the surveillance video used a pallet jack to pummel an ATM in a failed attempt to break it open.
The suspect was later seen on the video walking around the store with a shirt wrapped around one hand, and detectives recovered blood residue from a sink in the market's deli.
According to detectives, tests conducted at the state crime laboratory reveal that the blood samples from the market match those on file for Harris-Moore, who was convicted two years of felony burglary in Island County and then walked away from a juvenile detention center in Renton in April 2008.
In addition, a detective in Island County, where the 6-foot-2-inch, 210-pound teen was raised and is wanted on another 10 counts of burglary, identified the man in the surveillance video as Harris-Moore.
Local authorities believe Harris-Moore fled Orcas Island in a stolen boat in late September after committing a string of burglaries and thefts earlier in the month. The boat was later found unoccupied and adrift near Point Roberts.
Harris-Moore remains at large.Contact Journal of the San Juans Editor Scott Rasmussen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-360-378-5696.