x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Bahamas police capture 'Barefoot Bandit'

The "Barefoot Bandit," has been captured by police after one last daring attempt to evade capture - this time in a stolen boat.

This undated image shows Colton Harris-Moore, aka the
This undated image shows Colton Harris-Moore, aka the "Barefoot Bandit," using a stolen camera that was later recovered by deputies.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS // Fugitive burglar and Internet folk hero, the "Barefoot Bandit," was nabbed by Bahamas police yesterday after one last daring attempt to evade capture - this time in a stolen boat. Bahamian authorities said 19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore was arrested seven days after they found the wreckage of a stolen plane he is believed to have flown to the archipelago. "In an effort to avoid capture, the suspect engaged in a high-speed chase, by boat, with police," a police official said. "After a brief chase, the suspect was taken into custody without incident," he said, adding that Harris-Moore was arrested with a firearm and other evidence. The official did not confirm a Fox News report that the dramatic water chase included a shoot out. Harris-Moore, achieved folk hero status for his uncanny ability to elude authorities for years - on foot, in stolen cars and even airplanes. But after a long string of burglaries in the United States and Canada, the teen was taken into custody on the Bahamian islet of Eleuthera off the coast of Florida. He is set to appear in court tomorrow to be charged with several crimes which have occurred on two Bahamian islands since his plane crashed in the territory. Police said it was expected he would be turned over to US authorities under an extradition treaty. Romanticised by some as a latter-day "Billy the Kid," but regarded by others as a common thief, Harris-Moore has a criminal record stretching back to the age of 12. His legend took on a new dimension late in 2009 when a private plane crashed in the Cascade Mountains, east of Seattle. It had been stolen in Idaho, near where a rash of burglaries had occurred. Investigating one of the burglaries, police found bare footprints leading up to the door and inside the Idaho hangar where the stolen plane had been stored. And so the mystery of the "Barefoot Bandit" was born. More crimes were soon attributed to the teenager, including another plane theft, this time in the San Juan Islands, north of Seattle in late 2008. The burglar, subject of an international manhunt, grew up on rural Camano Island, north of Seattle, on the US Pacific coast. Caught in 2007, he was sentenced to a halfway house in the city, but he walked away in 2008 and disappeared with no trace but a string of crimes. Within months he was suspected of more than 50 burglaries. In a digital camera recovered from his stolen goodsy, police found a self-assured smirking self-portrait. The photograph soon became the public face of the teenaged robberl. A Fan Club page set up on the social networking site Facebook has 22,944 members. A Hollywood producer reportedly wants to make a movie of Harris-Moore's life. The Bahamian official said Harris-Moore had been seen by a doctor and was found to be in very good health. His mother, Pam Koehler, has hailed her son as a genius, even if of the criminal sort. "He's smart. He took an IQ test a few years ago and he's three points below Einstein," she said last year. * AFP