"Barefoot Bandit" suspected in Monroe Co. plane theft
Jennifer Reyes/Eyewitness News
Bloomington - There is new information about a man who is suspected of stealing a plane from the Monroe County Airport and crashing it in the Bahamas.
The FBI says the suspected plane thief stole an SUV and is on the run again.
"The latest is that we still believe he is a fugitive somewhere in the Bahamas," said Steven Dean with the FBI.
It's what Hollywood movies are made of, except this catch me if you can thief is real. He is 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore, a native of Washington state that has been on the run since 2008.
"He was our regional nuisance. Now, he's become international," said Dean.
He's now known as the "Barefoot Bandit" for crimes he committed without wearing shoes. He has stolen cars, boats and airplanes, all while eluding police. His cross country run started in Washington, moving through the Midwest sometime in June, through Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.
The crash in the Bahamas is just his latest escapade. But in spite of his lengthy crime spree, the FBI in Seattle says he's not a high priority.
"There's so many fugitives and criminals in this country, so if I was to send a picture of Colton Harris-Moore to every FBI office in the state of, or in the United States, 90 percent of them would throw the picture away," said Dean.
But that might be changing. Aside from putting people in danger by flying cross country, authorities believe Harris-Moore was involved in a bank robbery a year ago.
"We actually believe he may have robbed a bank in Island County," Dean said.
The Royal Bahamian Police is now handling the investigation. They're hoping to put an end to the Barefoot Bandit before someone gets hurt. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to Harris-Moore's arrest.
"It's important that we catch him. It's more important now, especially that he's widened his area of operations," said Dean.
There are 15 Facebook pages and several YouTube videos, blogs, merchandise and even a Wikipedia page dedicated to Harris-Moore. The FBI has been following his tracks since 2008, when he escaped from a juvenile detention facility, but say there's nothing to idolize about him.
"He has, I understand, thousands of people who support him and I think that's irresponsible and kind of sad," Dean said.
But he has also managed to do charity work along the way.
In Raymond, Washington, he dropped off $100 at an Animal Hospital with a note that read, "Please use this money for the care of animals."
"There are two fingerprints on the note that came back to Colton Harris-Moore," Dean said.