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'Barefoot Bandit' pleads guilty for crime spree that was all over the map

Colton Harris-Moore was dubbed the 'Barefoot Bandit' as he stole planes, boats and cars in six states and three countries beginning in 2008 and collected a large Facebook following along the way. He pleads guilty to seven federal charges that will likely carry a 6 1/2-year prison term.

June 17, 2011|By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
  • This is a self-portrait provided by the Island County Sheriff's Office showing Colton Harris-Moore, the so-called "Barefoot Bandit."
This is a self-portrait provided by the Island County Sheriff's Office… (AP Photo / Island County…)

Reporting from Seattle

Colton Harris-Moore, the tall, elusive youth who left a trail of stolen planes, boats, cars and frozen dinners across six states and three countries, pleaded guilty Friday to seven federal charges that will likely carry a prison term of up to 6½ years.

Sitting quietly beside his lawyer in a Seattle federal courtroom, Harris-Moore, 20, agreed that any proceeds from books or movies documenting the dramatic years he spent underground as the "Barefoot Bandit" will go to pay $1.4 million or more in restitution to victims of his teenage crime spree.

"We're here today to say that Mr. Harris-Moore's flight from justice has ended. He has taken the first step to accept responsibility for his actions in the United States. He has pleaded guilty to seven felony charges, will spend a significant time in prison, and will not make one dime from his crimes," U.S. Atty. Jenny Durkan told reporters.

Harris-Moore still faces a variety of burglary and theft charges in four Washington counties and could face an even longer prison term imposed in state court as a result.

John Henry-Browne, his lawyer, said Harris-Moore was prepared to admit to his crimes to avoid what could have become "a traveling road show" with potential charges in Canada, South Dakota, Indiana, Idaho and Oregon, the path authorities traced for the teenage fugitive as he made his way from the juvenile halfway house from which he escaped in Renton, Wash., in 2008 to his ultimate arrest last year in the Bahamas, where he crash-landed in one of several stolen planes.

The 6-foot, 5-inch young man had tens of thousands of followers on a Facebook page on which the public urged him on. "Fly, Colton, fly!" some of them said. But Browne said Harris-Moore had no wish to share in the proceeds of the story of his life on the lam.

"Colton has never wanted to profit from this. He thinks it's morally wrong," Browne said.

Kim.murphy@latimes.com

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