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Who is The Barefoot Bandit?

Updated on January 15, 2015

Who is Colton Harris Moore?

On July 11, 2010 the capture of Colton Harris-Moore in the Bahamas made international front page news. The news of his arrest was met with celebration by some while others mourned and wept. Colton's story is one that fascinates both those who see him as a hero and modern day Robin Hood and those who see him as just a young punk with a bad attitude. This photo is his famous self-photo taken with a camera reported stolen from a cabin that he allegedly broke into. The photo was one of several circulated by local law enforcement agencies while he was a fugitive to encourage anyone seeing him to report his whereabouts.

I must confess that although I certainly don't condone anyone committing a crime and I dislike the public attention given to people who commit crimes, I too, was fascinated by his story. Living in the Pacific Northwest I had watched and read about him in the local news long before he caught the attention of the press nationally and internationally. I admit to feeling some sympathy for this young man who was reported to have been a victim of child abuse and neglect. I also was amazed that although he had little formal education and little family support he was able to survive, elude police for over two years and teach himself to do many things including fly a plane. His story also raises unanswerable questions about whether he was doomed to be a criminal because of genetics or because of his early troubled home environment. So, read on if you are curious to learn more about Colton Harris-Moore, the Barefoot Bandit.

Colton Harris-Moore's Early Years

Not an ideal early childhood

Colton Harris-Moore was born on March 22, 1991 to Pamela Harris and Gordon Moore in Skagit County, Washington. Prior to his arrest in the Bahamas, he lived most of his life on Camano Island, WA. He was raised primarily by his mother in a home that from what has been reported in the news media as rather chaotic and far from ideal. Neighbors called Washington State Child Protective Services on numerous occasions and it has been alleged that he was a victim of child abuse by his father and perhaps his mother as well. There are stories that the adults in his life had issues with alcoholism and drug use. Colton's mother and father apparently had an on and off again relationship for several years and Colton also had a stepfather who died when he was 7.

There were signs that Colton had behavior issues at a young age starting at a young age and he is described as being "wild". His mother described him in an interview as having "sort of a disconnection". He didn't pay attention in class at school, disobeyed his teachers, started fights at school, had issues with his temper and would deliberately break things. He was first accused of stealing a bike when he was 8 years old.

In psychological evaluations done when he was 10 years old, he was described as having depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), intermittent explosive disorder and Parent-Child Relational Problem. Over the years he was prescribed several typical medications for children who have ADD.

He attended school sporadically and was often absent. When he didn't do well in the regular classroom environment, he was enrolled in an alternative school but the problems continued and he officially dropped out of school in the 9th grade.

More About Colton Harris-Moore's Childhood - Interview with Colt's Aunt

In this KING-TV news piece one of Colton Harris-Moore's aunts is interviewed. She talks about his childhood and some of the difficulties he had.

The Colton Harris-Moore Facebook Page - Folk Hero or Villain? - What do you think?

Colton Harris Moore Facebook Page
Colton Harris Moore Facebook Page

Some people admire Colton Harris-Moore as an anti-establishment folk hero and see him as modern day Robin Hood. Here is a link to the Colton Harris-Moore Facebook fan page set up by Zack Sestak: Colton Harris-Moore Facebook Fan Page At one time the page had over 70,000 fans. Supporters will point out that during his time as a fugitive, he never committed a violent crime and even left a donation that was found one morning at an animal hospital in Raymond, WA that included a note:

"Drove by, had some extra cash. Please use this money for the care of animals

-Colton Harris-Moore, (AKA: "The Barefoot Bandit"), Camano Island, WA."

Others, especially those who have been victims of Colton's alleged crimes, see nothing about him to admire and are glad he has been apprehended and put in jail.

From what you've heard and read about Colton Harris-Moore what's your opinion?

What's Your Opinion about Colton-Harris Moore?

Do you think of Colton Harris-Moore as a hero or a just a criminal?

See results

Where is Camano Island, Washington? - The island where Colton Harris-Moore grew up

Camano Island is located about an hour north of Seattle and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is a quiet, residential island with two state parks and a mix of summer beach cabins and homes of permanent year-round residents.

Seattle, WA:
Seattle, WA

get directions

Camano Island, WA:
Camano Island, WA

get directions

Colton Harris Moore Booking Photo
Colton Harris Moore Booking Photo

A Summary of Colton Harris-Moore's Adventures

From Snohomish and Island County, Washington and Beyond

Court records show Colton Harris-Moore's trail of arrests for crimes began in 2003 when he was 12. His first conviction was in Snohomish County for possession of stolen property. Over the next 3 years he was found guilty in juvenile court numerous times for various crimes. He was given sentences of a few days detention, hours of community service and required to pay restitution to the victims. Finally, the courts lost patience with him in 2007 when he was 16 and he was sentenced to 3 years of juvenile detention.

In April 2008 he escaped from a half-way house where he was serving his sentence and went back to life as a fugitive, living in campsites in the forest, breaking into homes and businesses to steal food, money, credit cards, electronic equipment, or just to enjoy some time in a hot tub, His crimes escalated to theft of more expensive transportation items like boats, automobiles and finally planes. The photo is one taken by law enforcement and circulated widely to identify him and enlist the help of the public to report sightings of him to help them find him.

The people living on Camano Island became so frustrated with his continued crime spree and the Sheriff' Department's inability to catch him that they raised funds to hire a bounty hunter.

Before his arrest in the Bahamas on July 11, 2010, Colton Harris-Moore is suspected of committing approximately 100 burglaries and thefts in several counties in Washington State, the states of Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Wyoming and internationally in Canada and the Bahamas.

Many wonder how a young fugitive who dropped out of school and lived in makeshift camps in the forest was able to elude law-enforcement officers in several jurisdictions for more than two years and teach himself to fly from playing flight simulator video games, reading books and information he found online.

The Barefoot Bandit Story Told in TV News Stories - Colton Harris-Moore on TV News Around the World

This a great video that tells the story of Colton Harris-Moore in news clips from TV stations around the world spliced together by The Film Works.

Colton Harris-Moore on TV News Around the World

KOMO News Story after escape from a Group Home

Fly, Colton, Fly: The True Story of the Barefoot Bandit
Fly, Colton, Fly: The True Story of the Barefoot Bandit

If you are interested in the story of Colton Harris-Moore this book has a lot of in depth information that wasn't reported anywhere else.


Fly Colton, Fly: The True Story of the Barefoot Bandit - By Jackson Holtz

As a crime reporter for the Everett Herald in Washington State, the author, Jackson Holtz covered the adventures of Colton Harris-Moore from his early days as an annoying burglar on Camano Island, Washington through his increasingly daring exploits and crimes across several states until his arrest in July 2010 in the Bahamas. Many people who have been fascinated with Colton Harris-Moore's story have been looking forward to the release of this book.

The Media and Crime

Whether you love him or hate him, are you interested in reading the book "Fly, Colton, Fly" written by Jackson Holtz? Jason is the local Everett Herald newspaper writer who has been following the story of Colton Harris-Moore for several years. Even though there have been laws passed to prevent criminals from selling their story to profit from their crimes, some people don't like the culture that adds to the fame and glory of criminals with books and movies about them. What's your opinion?

Will you or have you read "Fly, Colton, Fly"?

Have you (or will you) read the book

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The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw
The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw

Bob Friel, who lives on Orcas Island where several of Colton Harris-Moore's crimes were committed has written a book about the Barefoot Bandit.


More Books About Colton Harris-Moore - Read about the Barefoot Bandit

Orcas Island resident Bob Friel has also written a book about Colton Harris-Moore. It has some have some additional updated information beyond what was in the earlier book by Jackson Holtz. Bob Friel's book is being made into a movie.

The Barefoot Bandit

How Colton Harris-Moore become known as the Barefoot Bandit

Colton Harris-Moore became known as the barefoot bandit because he was barefoot on several occasions when committing his crimes. Over the years that Colton lived on the run, he grew into a tall, lanky young man who is over 6' 5" tall. It is easy to speculate that he may have spent a considerable amount of time barefoot when he may have outgrown his shoes and wasn't always able to find another pair of shoes big enough to fit his feet. Colton himself seized on the moniker by leaving chalk marks of footprints at locations he burglarized and referring to himself as "The Barefoot Bandit". True to his nickname, he was barefoot when apprehended in the Bahamas in 2010.

The Story of the search for Colton Harris-Moore - 2009

This video below includes clips from local TV station KOMO and Fox News, including an interview with local radio show host, Bob Rivers, whose plane was alledgedly stolen and crash landed by Colton Harris-Moore and also and interview with Colton's mother, Pam Kohler.

News Videos about Colton Harris-Moore

Crime and the Media - What's your opinion?

With TV, radio and the internet, we have media that is able to report crime and other news stories from all over the world instantly. Since good news doesn't bring in high ratings, news organizations tend to report mostly bad news like disasters and crime.

What do you think about crime and the media?

Do you think the media reports too much news and makes celebrities out of criminals?

See results
Cessna 400
Cessna 400

Journey from Washington State to the Bahamas

Fugitive on the Run - Planes, Boats and Automobiles

As law enforcement in Washington State made the capture of Colt a higher priority they launched several large scale manhunts to search areas where he was believed to be hiding. Apparently Colt decided to leave the area and began a journey from Washington across the US His journey involved the use of a string of stolen vehicles from Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. On July 4th 2010 he took to the skies in a Cessna 400 plane similar to the one in this photo stolen from an airfield in Bloomington, Indiana. From there he flew until to the Bahamas and crash-landed on the shoreline of Great Abaco. From there he stole a speed boat from a nearby marina and cruised through the Bahamas for a few days. He was captured on July 11, 2010 by the Bahamian police when trying to depart a marina on Harbor Island, Bahamas in another stolen boat.

The Capture of Colton Harris-Moore in the Bahamas - Associated Press News Story

Reaction to Colt's Capture on Camano Island, Washington

The residents of Camano Island were the victims of Colton's crimes for many years. This video of a newscast segment on KING-TV in Seattle contains interviews of several Camano Island residents and their reactions to the news that Colt had been captured in the Bahamas.

Interviews of several residents of Camano Island

A Brief Interview with Colton Harris-Moore's Mother

The Barefoot Bandit Movie

In August 2011 it was announced that a $1.3 million deal was made with 20th Century Fox to create a film about the life of Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Bandit". By law, Harris-Moore may not receive any profits from his story about his crimes, but the money will be used to compensate the victims of his crimes.

Colton released a statement apologizing to his victims with the wish that the movie proceeds will go to help to make up for their losses.

The story of the Barefoot Bandit will be made into a film!

A Parody of the Barefoot Bandit Story

Child Abuse and Neglect - What should we do?

Both neighbors and relatives expressed concerns that Colton Harris-Moore was the victim of child abuse and neglect. The state did get investigate, but apparently found that the situation wasn't severe enough to warrant taking steps to remove him from his parents. Could his life have been turned around if he had been taken out of his parent's home? With a shortage of foster homes, where can children be placed? Are foster or group homes any better? Or do you believe he have gone down this path no matter who raised him?

Colton's story is an illustration of the difficult philosophical and political questions surrounding abuse and neglected children. It raises the issues of parental rights, how much the government should intervene to protect children and how much people are willing to pay in taxes to support social programs to help children at risk. Or should children be left with their parents, no matter how badly things seem to be going and just pay to put them in jail later if they get into trouble?

The Story of Colton HarrisMoore on 48 Hour Mystery - Part I of the "48 Hour Mystery" Story about Colton Harris-Moore

A Tribute to Colton Harris-Moore

This video was obviously made by a friend, relative or friend of Colton Harris-Moore. It is easy to think of someone that commits crimes as evil, but as the video shows, each person who takes a wrong turn was once a child full of promise. Watching this video made me wonder if he will be able to use his intelligence and resourcefulness to become a law abiding, productive adult after he is tried for his crimes and completes serving any prison time he receives.

Colton Harris-Moore's Story from a Different Perspective

Colton Harris-Moore is Sentenced in Court - The Barefoot Bandit's Court Sentencing

After a series of legal maneuverings and plea bargains all of Colton Harris-Moore's crimes in several jurisdictions in Washington State were rolled into one case in Island County Superior Court where the majority of the crimes took place. He pled guilty to over 30 felonies and on December 16th the sentencing hearing was held and Island County Judge Vickie Churchill handed down the 7 year sentence for his crimes in Washington State.

Then on January 27th, the Barefoot Bandit appeared before US District Court Judge Richard A. Jones who sentenced Harris-Moore to serve 6 ½ years in prison. Harris-Moore's state and federal sentences will be served concurrently.

Although Colton has expressed remorse for his crimes through written and oral statements, the sentencing hearings were not without controversy when emails sent by Colton while he was awaiting sentencing hearings that contained disparaging comments about law enforcement officers and the courts were released by prosecutors in the case.

The Barefoot Bandit Sentenced to Jail News Story

What are your thoughts about Colton Harris-Moore?

I must confess that although I think our culture and the media gives too much attention to people who commit crimes, I too, was intrigued by Colt's story. Living in the Pacific Northwest I had watched and read about him in the local news long before he caught the attention of the national and international press. Because of my own conflicting opinions, I was reluctant to write this page, but decided to do so. Please feel free to comment.

© 2010 Vicki Green

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    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Ah I remember this young lad. Quite the charismatic crime doer this lad. I am not sure if he can ever be turned around.

    • I-sparkle profile image


      7 years ago

      If anybody ever takes enough interest to see if using his initiative is more provocative to him than using his criminal traits, he has a very real shot at being successful in life. He is obviously very resourceful and somewhat intelligent. Great lens by the way.

    • jolou profile image


      7 years ago

      Seems strange he has a fan club!


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