In the end, it was the local Bahamian police, with some help from the FBI, who ended the two-year crime spree of the wily, barefoot, 19-year-old bandit who had hopscotched his way across the U.S., stealing cars, robbing homes and taking off in stolen airplanes.
Colton Harris-Moore, known as the "Barefoot Bandit," reportedly had no formal flight training and taught himself to fly from computer games. He crash-landed a stolen plane in the marshes off the Abacos, a chain of 100-plus islands in the Bahamas Out Islands, on July 4.
Following a housebreaking rampage on Abaco, he was spotted on a surveillance camera several days later at Curly Tails restaurant next to a marina in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, where he stole a 44-foot-long power cruiser.
His luck finally ran out when he was tracked and stopped by police at Whale Beach in northern Eleuthera on July 11.
The police actually shot out the motor of the boat, which effectively beached Harris-Moore in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas.
Several hours later, he arrived at Nassau police headquarters, handcuffed, shackled, wearing a bulletproof vest and, of course, barefoot.
Harris-Moore will be charged with illegal weapons possession and other crimes in the Bahamas, according to Bahamas police.
However, today is Independence Day in the Bahamas, a national holiday, so Harris-Moore will not make his initial court appearance before Tuesday.
Following the Nassau showdown, he’ll be extradited to the U.S. to face a long series of charges.
Though gossip is bountiful in the islands, it’s been reported that the reason the Barefoot Bandit chose the Abacos as his initial escape route from the U.S. is because he is a huge fan of Barefoot Man.
The Barefoot Man and his band perform annually on Guana Cay in the Abacos. There’s speculation that the bandit’s initial plan was to hide out until the concert days on July 23 and 24, when he’d planned to attend the event and easily conceal himself in the massive crowd of barefoot merry makers.
The teenager, who had evaded arrest for two years after escaping from a juvenile halfway house in Renton, Wash., was given the nickname because he wore no shoes when he allegedly broke into houses. He deliberately left behind chalk footprints as his calling card.
The teen fugitive reached folk hero status on Facebook where he supposedly had 60,000 followers who sang songs about his crime sprees and wore T-shirts sporting his tie-dyed photo.
So when’s the movie coming out?
-- Gay Nagle Myers