Monday 12 July 2010
NASSAU, Bahamas - 'Barefoot Bandit' caught after 2 years on the run
NASSAU, Bahamas – The teenage "Barefoot Bandit" who allegedly stole cars, boats and airplanes to dodge U.S. law enforcement was nabbed Sunday as he tried to make a water escape then brought handcuffed — and shoeless — to the capital to face justice, abruptly ending his two-year life on the lam.
19 year-old Colton Harris-Moore faces a string of theft and burglary charges on the island chain, and he could fight extradition to the United States, where he faces prosecution in at least four states.
Harris-Moore had stayed a step ahead of the law - stealing cars, powerboats and even airplanes, police say - while building a reputation as a 21st-century folk hero. But his celebrity became his downfall.
Witnesses on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera recognized him and called police, who captured him Sunday after a high-speed boat chase, Greenslade said at a celebratory news conference in Nassau, the capital.
Greenslade said shots were fired during the water chase, but he did not say who fired them. He said Harris-Moore was carrying a handgun that he tried to throw away.
Police flew Harris-Moore in shackles to Nassau. True to his nickname, the teen with close-shorn hair was shoeless as he walked off the plane wearing short camouflage cargo pants, a short-sleeved shirt and a bulletproof vest.
Harris-Moore is blamed for several thefts in the Bahamas in the week since allegedly crash-landing a stolen plane there.
The 6-foot-5-inch Harris-Moore had been on the run since escaping from a Washington state halfway house in 2008. He is accused of breaking into dozens of homes and committing burglaries across Washington, as well as in British Columbia and Idaho.
He is also suspected of stealing at least five planes - including the aircraft he allegedly lifted in Indiana and flew more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to the Bahamas, despite a lack of formal flight training.
Through it all, his ranks of supporters grew. Some of his more than 60,000 Facebook fans posted disappointed messages Sunday, while others promoted T-shirts and tote bags with the words "Free Colton!" and "Let Colton Fly!"
Even some in the Bahamas had mixed feelings about his arrest. e.g. "I feel like it would have been good if he got away because he never hurt anybody, but then he was running from the law," ... "He seemed very innocent when I spoke with him at the store. I don't think he'd hurt anybody,"
Posted by sysiphus at 13:19