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Modern Day Robin Hood: Colton Harris-Moore

Updated on July 11, 2010
The most famous picture of Colton.
The most famous picture of Colton.

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Colton has been arrested in the Bahamas. He stole a plane from Indiana and flew over 1000 miles to the islands. He was on the run from the military in the area for the last couple weeks and has finally been caught.

It’s almost perfect timing. The movie Robin Hood hits theatres across the world, and not even a week later Rolling Stone – one of the biggest and popular magazines in the world – publishes a story about Colton Harris – Moore.

Who is he you ask?

Well he doesn’t have a bow and arrow, or a family whom he lives with in a forest, and he doesn’t steal from the rich and give to the poor – at least not yet. But he does live outside the system; he does, like Robin Hood, live like an outlaw. And he loves planes.

He comes from a broken family, one where the Dad left when he was two years old, and where the Mom has been dishevelled ever since. Surrounded by his Mom’s abuse of alcohol, and the boyfriends who did drugs, one would think that Colton would also fall into the same bottomless pit; however he didn’t. He went on record at an early age and vowed to never touch the stuff; it was the only control he had over who he was; it was the only way he could truly promise himself he wouldn’t become what he was enveloped in.

That was the one thing he would make sure defined he life. The other? He would become a pilot.

He was obsessed with planes at an early age as his family – who lived on the coast near Seattle – lived very close to an air base. Planes would fly over the house on a daily basis and nearly every time Colton’s mother would catch him staring, eyes wide, upwards. He was so captivated by the complex intricacies, the sound, and the power that the airplane possessed. And aren’t we all? The will to be able to be in the sky, flying, being the one in control, well, it would be like being in a different world. It would be a sort of freedom. Colton channelled that freedom; he wanted it, to truly feel it.

Eventually he started to get in trouble with the law. It was little things at first. He was accused for stealing a bike, or stealing something from school. Then he got more confident and more skilled. His family lived very close to the upper class ‘summer’ home district of Seattle. Colton began stealing from these homes and it was easy for him. He would steal iPod’s, computers, books; he would steal credit cards and buy things online. But when he left? He would make sure the place was spotless, sometimes even nicer than when it was when he got there. He definitely wasn’t your average thief.

During this time period of stealing Colton remained true to his two mindsets. He still didn’t drink or do drugs, and he was still obsessed with flying. When he was in the homes he was stealing from he would go on the computer and spend hours on flight simulators. It’s also safe to assume that he loaded those iPods with thousands of words that taught him the details of being a pilot. School? Who needs it when you have the motivation and all the knowledge in the world at your fingertips.

The police were on his tail, though. The community was putting pressure on his capture; wanted posters were even put up. But Colton was good. By the time there was a complaint that he was in the area, he was already long gone, and the place was spotless – like he wasn’t even there. Some say he lived like Robin Hood and lived in the forest. Some say he had friends who he stayed with from time to time. One thing is certain: he knew how to survive. He knew what he wanted to do.

On November 11th, 2009, he stole his first plane. On November 11th, 2009 he fulfilled his dream of flying.

Imagine that feeling he felt.

After seventeen years of having the odd hardship to steal and run and just survive. The plane lifted off the ground and he was gone up into the clouds, into that other, pristine, world. He was now an outlaw who could fly – something that even Robin Hood couldn’t do. He landed the plane in a field some 250 miles away; it wasn’t a clean landing, but he landed none the less. Without any training, without any schooling, Colton Harris-Moore did something most of us will never do – he flew.

And then he became a legend.

There’s something about someone completely ignoring the law and getting away with that people like. Humanity seeks freedom – we seek the power to go anywhere and do anything at any time we want. We have all these invisible lines, and laws, which we must abide to – and most of them are good. Most of them keep society intact and keep the world grounded. But when someone decides to dismiss all this, we all gravitate towards that notion.

Imagine what it would be like to have that kind of freedom.

It would be pretty cool. I’d be so… so free.

The fact of the matter is that Colton would, probably, in an instant trade everything he’s done to have a normal life, with a nice house and a nice family. And that makes his story that much sadder and that much more grandeur. He was almost forced into his position as an outlaw; he was forced but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams. And we as humans like that idea as well – someone following their dreams.

So now Colton is in an interesting position. He has a page on Facebook where he has over 35 000 fans. All the comments are ones of encouragement, or of praise, or of warning. We all want him to succeed, whether that is to turn himself in, or to continue living the life as an outlaw. He’s becoming a legend, and with that comes great responsibility. He’s had this life, in a way, thrust upon him. He followed his dreams and with that people began to follow him. He has to be careful with this interesting opportunity that has been given to him. He’s been given the power of being liked by the people for something that is generally despised by the people.

I think he was two definite options.

One: He can turn himself in and make a deal with the authorities. He hasn’t hurt anyone or done any damage anywhere. The rules of becoming a pilot will allow him to take flight school after he is released from prison. He can become a pilot, full time, all the time. He will truly fulfill his dream.

Two: He can keep living as an outlaw. He can continue to capture the imagination of the world with his complete lack for the law and his complete sureness of freedom. Perhaps he will start stealing from the rich and give to the poor. Most people have too much material possessions anyway.

Either way he is a legend in the public’s eye; either way he has already become a modern day Robin Hood.

So what I would say to him if I could tell him one thing? What would we all say?

Don’t hurt anyone. Be free. Follow your dreams.

  • Colton Harris- Moore has stolen 4 planes.

  • He is nineteen years old.

  • His last known whereabouts were the town of Eastbound, where he robbed a local deli.

  • He still lives as an outlaw.

A few things:

  • I don't condone his stealing. Stealing from people is wrong and unjust. His story is just interesting in that he hasn't hurt anyone in the process - and he's not deep into drugs and alcohol like many criminals are.

  • All the information comes from the Rolling Stone Magazine. I don't take credit for any of this, and i encourage all of you to check out the article: it is extremely well written and has much better detail on his story.

  • And what does everyone think about story? Is he still just a criminal? Should the public not be reacting the way it is? What do you think?


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    • profile image

      j. muthu 7 years ago

      Colton Harris act was something beyond unachievable to even Barack Obama. no doubt he had broken the law of land but still he is respectable for his ideas and courage.

    • profile image

      Patrick  7 years ago

      Sorry guy, got your facts a bit wrong here. As an Airline Transport Pilot, I can assure you that this guy will have an incredibly difficult time ever getting a paid flying job, if he ever finds the means to pay for flight school AFTER getting out of jail.

    • writer83 profile image

      writer83 7 years ago from Cyber Space

      wow the guy is a comedian ! not 1 - 2 - 3 but 4 planes ;)

    • profile image

      Colton Harris biggest fan 7 years ago

      Man Ilove this dude.i know it sounds bad but there are alot of other people out there that rape, kill, hurt, and even do things to little kids. but he is stealing and causing no harm!

    • profile image

      ka 7 years ago

      ok umm part of this story has its facts wrong. and your making him sound like such a sweet boy. i admit that its pretty cool hes been hiding from the police for like 2 years, but you kinda see it in a diffferent way when he used to live in your small town and he stole from houses around your hose, if anyone sees him in our town they say they're gonna shoot him... but anyway he was at juvy and he escaped from it, then all the big house robberies started. that pic of him on here he took himself in the woods after stealing someones camera. he went to whidbey island found a plane and taught himself how to fly it, and when he landed he threw up everywhere. theres a lot more but i'll just leave it at that....oh and he didn't steal from upper side seattle.....

    • captainchris profile image

      captainchris 7 years ago

      Very interesting read...indeed.

    • vanchen profile image

      vanchen 7 years ago from British Columbia

      I agree. It`s a touchy area for sure. The fact, at least it appears that way, that he shows some respect in what he does, and that he has not done any `real`damage or hurt anyone just adds to that allure. It will interesting to see where this goes, for sure.

    • SwanofWar profile image

      SwanofWar 7 years ago from In My Imagination

      That is truly an amazing story. It's hard to know what to think of something like that. But I think there's something respectable about anyone who lives by a code of conduct, even if you don't entirely agree with that code. I also think it's hilarious that in this day and age an outlaw can have a facebook following like that.