Crime may not pay, but stardom has paid off for Colton Harris-Moore, the high-flying Washington burglar better known as the “Barefoot Bandit.”
After coping to a two year crime spree in 2011, Harris-Moore was ordered to pay back $1.3 million in damage he’d caused. Harris-Moore, who will be 25, had a love of planes, cars and boats, and didn’t treat any of them particularly well.
Earlier this week, 20th Century Fox cut a $900,000 check to the U.S. Marshalls Service. It was the studio’s largest on Harris-Moore’s debt, made in exchange for rights to his life story.
Raised rough on Camano Island, Harris-Moore launched an epic burglary spree after escaping from a Renton group home on April 22, 2008.
After his escape, Harris-Moore developed a reputation for committing crimes while barefoot and, on at least one occasion, naked. Investigators claim he also had a taste for planes, stealing as many as five during his two years on the run. He managed to fly them across and out of the country, even though he had no formal pilot training.
Harris-Moore’s days on the run ended in May 2010 after a shootout in the Bahamas. He flew there after stealing a plane in Indiana; he crashed into the Caribbean and then tried to steal a boat, hoping to make one more escape.
Harris-Moore was suspected in more than 80 crimes, including assaults on law officers. His attorneys, Emma Scanlon and John Henry Browne, won a plea deal resolving all the allegations against the young man, to the annoyance of some local officials. Harris-Moore was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison.
His days on the run made the Barefoot Bandit a bona fide celebrity criminal. Some fans cast him as high-minded free spirit, though, in the end, he seemed to be just a young man who liked planes and hated home.
Whatever the truth, Fox seems hopeful that Harris-Moore’s tale will fill theaters. The studio’s $900,000 check was filed with the U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday; it followed $216,000 in payments. All that leaves Harris-Moore about $220,000 short, though it appears Fox will be covering that too.
If the Fox film goes forward, Harris-Moore will likely be free to see it. He’s slated to be released from federal custody in March and appears to have been transferred to a halfway house.
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer