July 11, 2010
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NASSAU, the Bahamas (AP) — The teenager known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” who is suspected of having stolen cars, boats and airplanes to dodge American law enforcement officials, was captured Sunday as he tried to make a water escape. He was then brought here to the capital, handcuffed and shoeless, abruptly ending his two-year life on the lam.
The teenager, Colton Harris-Moore, was arrested before dawn in northern Eleuthera, said Sgt. Chrislyn Skippings, a spokeswoman for the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Mr. Harris-Moore, 19, kept his head down and ignored questions shouted by reporters. He faces possible extradition to the United States.
Police officers had been searching for the fugitive since he was said to have crash-landed a stolen plane a week ago on nearby Great Abaco Island, where he was blamed for a string of at least seven break-ins.
The authorities caught Mr. Harris-Moore on Harbour Island, a small tourist destination just off mainland Eleuthera, the police commissioner, Ellison E. Greenslade, said at a news conference.
Mr. Harris-Moore was carrying a handgun that he tried to throw away, and shots were fired during a water chase, Commissioner Greenslade said. He did not say who fired the shots.
“It was like something you might see in the movies,” he said.
A spokesman for the United States Embassy in Nassau, Jefferson Dubel, praised the “outstanding efforts” of the Bahamian authorities who captured the teenager.
Mr. Harris-Moore, who has been running from American law enforcement since escaping from a Washington State halfway house in 2008, gained fame and thousands of fans who admired his ability to evade arrest. He is suspected of stealing cars, boats and at least five planes, including the aircraft he was said to have taken in Indiana and flown more than 1,000 miles to the islands off Florida’s coast, despite a lack of formal flight training.
He was dubbed the “Barefoot Bandit” because he was thought to have gone shoeless during some crimes and was once said to have left behind chalk footprints as a calling card.
Reached early Sunday at her home on Camano Island in Washington State, Mr. Harris-Moore’s mother, Pam Kohler, said that she had heard the news about the arrest, but had no comment.