Stolen Indiana airplane found in Bahamas - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Stolen Indiana airplane found in Bahamas

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Colton Harris Moore Colton Harris Moore

Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News

Monroe County - Police are trying to figure out how an airplane stolen from the Monroe County Airport ended up in the Bahamas. There's speculation that a 19-year-old from Washington state on the run from the law could be connected to the theft.

The single engine Cessna took off from Monroe county's airport unnoticed, traveled cross country without raising any alarms and crash landed in the surf off the Bahamas.

No one knew it had even left its locked hanger until the US Coast Guard called saying it had picked up the plane's emergency locating signals.

"The M.O. of this, and the details of this fit that of what everyone is calling the Barefoot Bandit," said Bruce Payton, airport director.

Payton is referring Colton Harris Moore, 19, who has gained something of a cult following on Facebook. Harris Moore has been on the run since walking out of a juvenile facility in 2008. He is suspected of dozens of break-ins. Harris Moore is also suspected in the theft of cars, boats, and planes, then crash landing. His alleged exploits have even garnered him a fan club.

His cross-country run may have brought Harris Moore to Indiana last week.

Monroe County sheriff's deputies found a stolen out-of-state car abandoned near the airport.

The airport director says he took every precaution, passing out flyers and warning aviation businesses to take extra care.

"We have a ten-foot wire fence with barbed wire we have locked gates. The aircraft was inside a locked hanger," said Payton.

Investigators believe the plane was stolen between 9:30 Saturday night and 6:30 Sunday morning, when the control tower was closed. That means there was no official record of the plane's departure and little chance of witnesses.

An arrest warrant out of Madison County, Nebraska states that Harris Moore is wanted in connection with trying to break in to an airport there. He's also wanted in connection with a home break-in.

Authorities say no trace of a pilot or passengers were found in the plane where it landed in the Bahamas.

The stolen Cessna was worth about $600,000. It's one of the manufacturer's newest and most sophisticated single engine planes.

Internet lore says Colton Harris Moore taught himself to fly reading manuals and using flight simulators. He earned the "Barefoot Bandit" nickname by working shoeless in his early crimes. He even taunted police by leaving chalk outlines of bare feet.

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