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Colton Harris-Moore suspected of two boat thefts

Burglary suspect Colton Harris-Moore. - contributed photo
Burglary suspect Colton Harris-Moore.
— image credit: contributed photo

The word of the boat theft spread quickly, and so did the speculation. You-Know-Who was quickly a prime suspect in the minds of several islanders familiar with his alleged crimes.

A Cape San Juan home was reportedly burglarized — neighbors said it occurred late Thursday/early Friday — and a 24-foot boat on the homeowner’s private dock was stolen. Neighbors said the boat was later found grounded on Shark Reef. The Sheriff’s Department reported in a press release Friday that the boat was “beached.”

Speculation that serial burglary suspect Colton Harris-Moore has returned to the island spread quickly, as was apparent in a call to Lopez Island to see if there were any reports of plane thefts Friday.

The response before the question was fully asked:

“Do you think the Barefoot Burglar is on Lopez Island because of the boat that was stolen from Fish Creek and run up on Shark Reef?”

Now, authorities believe serial burglary suspect Colton Harris-Moore stole that boat, grounded it on Lopez Island, made his way to Spencer’s Landing Marina and stole another boat that was later found abandoned off Camano Island, the suspect’s home island.

On Sunday, a 30-foot boat was discovered missing from Spencer’s Landing Marina near the Lopez ferry landing. The boat was found by the U.S. Coast Guard and is being processed by the Island County Sheriff’s Office. The Cape San Juan boat is being processed by Washington State Patrol and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department.

“This incident is being investigated as another possible criminal event involving Colton Harris-Moore,” Sheriff Bill Cumming said in a press release.

Cumming declined to answer questions about the investigation, and referred to separate press releases he’s issued on the Cape San Juan and Spencer’s Landing thefts.

According to Spencer’s Landing Marina manager Kim Smith, surveillance cameras show the theft took place about 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Harris-Moore is 19. He has been described as 6 foot 3 inches or 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.

He has been called the “Barefoot Burglar” or “Barefoot Bandit” 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.

Harris-Moore was charged in absentia in Island County in March 2009, and in San Juan County Superior Court in October.

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.

— With reporting by Richard Walker of The Journal and Colleen Smith Armstrong of The Islands’ Sounder.

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