x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Barefoot bandit's heist

He wreaked havoc across the US, stealing yachts, planes and property. Now, his story is being turned into a film.

He stole a light aircraft - that he could barely fly - worth $150,000 (Dh550,000). Taking off in Idaho, Colton Harris-Moore eventually crash-landed in Washington state and spent weeks hiding in the woods. The so-called "barefoot bandit" was half way to becoming a modern-day Robin Hood in America. He stole from the rich, but he didn't give all that much to the poor.

Now 20, Harris-Moore gained worldwide notoriety when he was a teenager by stealing millions of dollars worth of planes, yachts and other property in a crime spree across the US starting in 2008. Now awaiting sentencing, he seems to have hit upon another improbable scheme.

Earlier this week, Harris-Moore signed a $1.3 million deal with 20th Century Fox for the movie rights to his story. Unlike his previous adventures, however, Harris-Moore will have to share the loot this time: he is obliged to pay back a minimum of $1.4 million to his victims to repay his debts and pay for busted-up planes.

And while some might object to a criminal profiting from illegal activities, we're certain those owed money will not be among them.

Echoing Leonardo DiCaprio's Catch Me If You Can, directed by Steven Spielberg, the project has already attracted an award-winning screenwriter. Hollywood's young brigade will no doubt also be clamouring for such a plump role. Michael Cera, anyone?