The US teenager dubbed the “Barefoot Bandit,” who was arrested by police in the Bahamas after they shot out the engine of his stolen boat, is in good condition and will be arraigned later this week.
The Bahamas Commissioner of Police said Colton Harris-Moore, 19, was nabbed just off Eleuthera Island yesterday after almost two years on the run that included a spree of stolen luxury cars, planes and boats. His fugitive odyssey drew so much attention, movie executives reportedly were planning a film about his exploits. A Bahamas police source said: “He was caught off a place called Harbour Island, which is part of Eleuthera. He was in his boat, which we believe was the same one he stole last week. Police had to shoot out the engine of the boat to stop him. If he had have got south from there he would have been away.”
At a press briefing later in the day, Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said “information from the public” alerted police to Harris-Moore’s location. After he was taken into custody, officers recovered a firearm and other evidence, he said.
US police put out a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest after he escaped from a Washington state half-way house in 2008. Harris-Moore, from Puget Sound, 30 miles north of Seattle, was dubbed the “Barefoot Bandit” last autumn after police found footprints in an Idaho airport hangar from which an aircraft was stolen.
The 19-year-old walked away unhurt after crash-landing 260 miles (420 kilometers) away.
Exactly a week ago a $600,000 Cessna 400 aircraft, stolen from a locked hangar at Monroe County airport, was found crashed in about three feet of water near Sandy Point airstrip off the coast of Abaco Island in the Bahamas.
Harbour Island beach, near where the fugitive was caught, is ranked one of the top 10 beaches in the Caribbean. Steve Cappeler, manager at the island’s top resort Cape Eleuthera, said locals were enthralled by the teenager’s escapades. He said: “People were joking at a cocktail party during the week that people are so friendly here they probably invited him in for dinner. Eleuthera means ‘freedom’ in Greek and that’s what he almost found here. A lot of people were kind of rooting for him, hoping he would get away. But he was always going to get caught; he’s a 6 foot 5 inch white guy travelling around in a place where it’s mostly black people.”