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Colton Harris-Moore: Burglary suspect has 20,000 Facebook fans, articles in Outdoors and Maxim magazines, and now a song on YouTube
Colton Harris-Moore, the teen burglary suspect who has earned the nickname "The Barefoot Burglar," is growing as a pop culture figure.
His suspected crimes have made national news. He was the subject of a story in the January edition of Outdoors magazine, complete with pop-art depiction of Harris-Moore behind the controls of a plane. In the latest edition of Maxim magazine, readers who get past the feature on "She's Out of My League"'s Alice Eve will find a four-page article on Harris-Moore, called "The Jesse James of Puget Sound" and illustrated with a Wild West-style "Wanted" poster.
He's the subject of a song, "The Ballad of Barefoot Harris," on YouTube. You can go online and buy doggie sweaters, T-shirts and neckties with Harris-Moore's image and "Fly Colton Fly" or "Momma Tried."
In an earlier story in The Islands' Sounder, Sheriff Bill Cumming was perturbed by what he called a growing "myth" about Harris-Moore as a folk hero. “In reality, he is a serial burglar and a thief who has no sense of responsibility toward innocent people,” Cumming said in the Feb. 19 story.
Islanders seem to agree. In a poll on SanJuanJournal.com, 92 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "Colton Harris-Moore, aka the Barefoot Bandit, is a fugitive as well as a burglary and theft suspect, not a folk hero." (The online poll is informal, not scientific. It reflects opinions of site visitors who voluntarily participate. Results may not represent the opinions of the public as a whole.)
On March 18, Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Vierthaler, stationed on the west side of Orcas Island during a search for the suspect, said the Sheriff's Department receives two or three "Colton sightings" per day.
"We've chased so many leads. Anyone who is young and over six feet tall, we've been getting calls about," he said.
Harris-Moore, 18, of Camano Island, has been called the Barefoot Burglar because he is believed to have been barefoot during most of the alleged crimes in the San Juans. He is wanted in connection with a series of burglaries in 2008, 2009 and earlier this year on Orcas Island; as well as boat and plane thefts from Orcas Island and Friday Harbor.
According to Cumming, Harris-Moore has been connected to 20 to 30 burglaries in Island County. He's also a "person of interest" in the theft of an AR-15 assault rifle and ammo, cell phone, camera and laptop from a deputy's car.
In March 2009, Harris-Moore was charged in absentia in Island County juvenile court with 10 counts relating to his alleged summer 2008 crime spree, which included burglaries and one car theft. He was charged in San Juan County Superior Court on Oct. 2, 2009 and an arrest warrant issued.
Harris-Moore is described as 6 foot 5 inches, 205 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. He reportedly has a scar on his left arm from a knife wound.
Harris-Moore was convicted in June 2007 of three counts of residential burglary and was given three years confinement. He escaped from a group home in Renton on April 30, 2008 when he was still a juvenile.
Since then, he is suspected of the following burglaries in the San Juans:
— Feb. 28, 2010: Orcas Island Hardware.
— Feb. 11, 2010: Orcas Homegrown Market and Gourmet Delicatessen.
— Sept. 13, 2009: Theft of a boat from Brandt’s Landing, later recovered in Point Roberts.
— September 2009: Ace Hardware, Bilbo’s, Island Market, Islanders Bank, Sunflower Cafe, Vern’s Bayside. Suspected of stealing two boats on Orcas Island and a plane from Friday Harbor that was later hard-landed at Eastsound Airport. On Sept. 12, the suspect eluded deputies in Eastsound after he was spotted and chased on foot.
— Aug. 28, 2009: Deer Harbor Marina.
— Nov. 12, 2008: Theft of a Cessna S-182 from a locked Eastsound Airport hangar. The plane was discovered later that morning abandoned in a closed area of the Yakama Nation reservation.
— September 2008: Residential burglary on Orcas Island.
— August 2008: Vern’s Bayside. Theft of a plane from an Eastsound Airport hangar.