Monday, July 12, 2010

The Barefoot Bandit Arrested

So are you thinking it's about time, dang it, or who the heck is the Barefoot what?

I had no clue who Colton Harris-Moore was before catching a few minutes of the news on TV this morning, but I've apparently had my head stuck in the sand. So for those of us who are clueless, here's the skinny.

Colton was born in Washington and grew up in what sounds like a horrible environment. His abusive father left their family when he was 2 and his stepfather died when he was 7. Neighbors had apparently called child protective services on several occasions. The boy started living in the wild at the age of 7, breaking into vacation homes for survival needs and then disappearing back into the woods.


He was first convicted for stealing at the age of 12 and racked up three more offenses by the time he'd turned 13. For years, he was in and out of detention facilities. In 2008, he fled a 3 year sentence and had been on the run until getting arrested in the Bahamas just yesterday.

His nickname, the Barefoot Bandit, came about after he'd reportedly left chalk footprints at the scene of a crime. He's suspected of more than 100 thefts and his take includes everything from bicycles to camcorders, cars to airplanes. Yes, airplanes. He apparently taught himself to fly by reading manuals and playing flight simulator computer games.

He once broke into a veterinary clinic and, rather than steal anything, left $100 to care for animals in need. His 60,000 fans maintain a Facebook page. People sell T-shirts with his picture. He's had a song and a book written about him, and film rights have been purchased. Colton's only 19.

Am I the only one out there who'd never heard of the Barefoot Bandit before this morning? What in the world are they going to do with him now?

Helen

15 comments:

Michele Hauf said...

Never heard of him either, Helen. Sounds like he's a bit of a Robin Hood. Too bad. Sounds like he didn't have a chance to start with. Is he living anywhere now? Do they know if he at least has shelter?

Leanne said...

He's obviously intelligent and creative. His background really really sucks, though. I wonder if there's ANY way he could overcome enough of his damaged childhood to use his "powers" for good instead of evil... I'm also wishing a good loving relationship for him. That can be the most healing thing of all!

Terry Odell said...

I haven't heard of this either. Fascinating look at what humans are capable of.

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, he's in a Bahamian jail right now. Police caught him after a high speed boat chase. He'll have to face charges there for several thefts and crash-landing an airplane before extradition to the US to face charges here.

Leanne, this kid's obvious intelligence is one of the first things that struck me. Can't help but feel that our society has failed him.

Terry, even my dh had heard of this guy!

KylieBrant said...

Yes he's been in the news recently. Hopefully they'll consider his background and show a little mercy...with rehabilitation.

magolla said...

He's not the first to do something like that. Frank Abagnale who inspired the movie, Catch Me If You Can, played by Leonardo diCaprio. My brother's kids went to private school with his kids in Tulsa--he still lives here--but now he contracts out as a security analyst.

Helen Brenna said...

Kylie, I think the fact that he was armed when the Bahamian police arrested him is going to complicate things for him. As far as I know, though, he's never hurt anyone in any of his escapades.

Magolla, I saw the movie, but can't remember it well and I don't know anything about Abagnale's past. Did he start up quite young?

Cindy Gerard said...

I have been watching this story. Sort of sad he got caught :o( Does that make me a bad person too?

Kathleen Eagle said...

You're not a bad person, Cindy. I was thinking the same thing. If he hasn't hurt anyone, and he's taught himself to fly a plane, he's a survivor with a heart. I'm sure the publishers are lining up for his story. I can't wait to read it.

I hadn't heard of him, either, and I'm a news junkie.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Meant to say survivor with heart AND brain. Not to mention courage.

Helen Brenna said...

Cindy, you're not alone. A lot of people are sad he got caught. I think that just shows empathy and compassion. I hope for the best for him.

Debra Dixon said...

I don't know that I'm sad he got caught but I'm hoping they find a way to creatively sentence this kid and turn his life around.

He obviously has more than enough brain power to get somewhere in life if he can catch the right kind of break and supervision.

Keri Ford said...

I'd never heard of him either. He reminds of the kid who was a whiz at check fraud. His movie starred Tom Hanks (as the agent chasing him) and Leonardo Decaprio as the boy. At the end, the FBI began using him to help them solve fraud cases.

Hopefully something good like that will become of the Barefoot Bandit

Helen Brenna said...

Deb, good point.

Keri - that was the movie Catch Me if You Can that was mentioned earlier. I forgot Tom Hanks was in that, too.

lois greiman said...

I actually had heard of him. And I'm living in a summer bubble. It's an interesting story.