'Barefoot bandit' pleads not guilty in US

The 20-year-old who gained a popular following as the ’barefoot bandit’ pleaded not guilty today to all charges against him in a US federal court.

The 20-year-old who gained a popular following as the ’barefoot bandit’ pleaded not guilty today to all charges against him in a US federal court.

Colton Harris-Moore is accused of a two-year cross-country burglary spree in stolen cars, boats and planes.

His lawyer, John Henry Browne, and Assistant US Attorney Darwin Roberts previously said in court they hoped to have a plea deal reached by the end of last month that would provide the framework for resolving state and federal charges.

Browne does not dispute the allegations against his client. He maintains Harris-Moore has no interest in profiting from the crimes but would sell his story if it meant his victims could be repaid.

Plea talks originally called for money from such deals being turned over to a court-appointed special master who would divide it up as restitution to victims. But in the past few days, prosecutors have said they are reluctant to let Harris-Moore sell his story, Browne said.

Many of the losses sustained by burglary or theft victims were covered by insurance companies, which could be in line for a share of any publicity deal proceeds.

A new indictment returned last month added a bank burglary charge to the already lengthy list of federal charges against Harris-Moore. They include interstate transportation of a stolen plane, gun, and boat; being a fugitive in possession of a firearm and piloting an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate.

The new indictment also requires forfeit of “any and all intellectual property or other proprietary rights belonging to the defendant” based on his publication or dissemination of his tale.

The federal charges stem from a spate of crimes in late 2009 and early 2010, when Harris-Moore is accused of flying a stolen plane from Anacortes, in north-west Washington, to the San Juan Islands.

He then allegedly stole a pistol in British Columbia and took a plane from a hangar in Idaho, where authorities found bare footprints on the floor and wall. That plane crashed near Granite Falls, Washington, after it ran out of fuel, prosecutors say.

Harris-Moore allegedly made his way to Oregon in a boat stolen from south-west Washington, stopping first to leave $100 at an animal shelter in Raymond, Washington.

From Oregon, authorities said, Harris-Moore picked his way across the United States, frequently stealing cars from the car parks of small airports, until he made it to Indiana, where he stole another plane and made for the Bahamas. He was captured by Bahamian police at gunpoint in a stolen boat.

In all, Harris-Moore is suspected of more than 70 crimes across nine states.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox