Saturday 17 March 2018

Folk hero 'Barefoot Bandit' makes guilty plea

Manuel Valdes in Seattle

THE young American who gained international notoriety during a two-year run from the law in stolen boats, cars and planes pleaded guilty yesterday to seven charges in the "Barefoot Bandit" case.

Under a plea agreement, Colton Harris-Moore (20) would forfeit any future earnings from movie, book or other deals from selling his story. Earnings would be used to pay off the $1.4m (€980,000) in restitution he owes to his many victims.

Harris-Moore could receive between five and six years in prison when he's sentenced in October.

However, he still faces state charges in several counties.

Prosecutors have said Harris-Moore hopscotched his way across the United States, frequently crash-landing planes in rural areas and stealing cars from parking lots at small airports. His escapades earned him cult status as an authority-mocking folk hero, and he earned the "Barefoot Bandit" moniker by committing some of the crimes without shoes.

Harris-Moore smiled and greeted his lawyers as he entered the court room yesterday. He sat quietly as federal judge Richard Jones went over the details of the crimes.

The federal charges, which include stealing an aircraft, possession of firearms and piloting without licence, stem from a spate of crimes in late 2009 and early 2010, when Harris-Moore was accused of flying a stolen plane from Anacortes, in northwestern Washington, to the San Juan Islands.

Authorities say he then stole a pistol in eastern British Columbia and took a plane from a hangar in Idaho, where investigators found bare footprints on the floor and wall. In Indiana, he stole another plane and made for the Bahamas, where he was captured last July.

Irish Independent

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