Fugitive, 19, may have crashed in Bahamas
He’s suspected in plane, auto thefts
MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas — A teenage thief who has hop-scotched across the United States has become an international fugitive, crash-landing a stolen plane and disappearing into the Abaco islands, police say.
They are hunting for Colton Harris-Moore — dubbed the “barefoot bandit’’ for allegedly committing crimes while shoeless — on an island hosting hundreds of tourists for a regatta.
“We’re following some leads and we’re working with the Abaco community to try and find him,’’ Assistant Police Commissioner Glenn Miller said Tuesday.
The 19-year-old has been taunting police for more than two years, starting in Washington state with burglaries and escalating to the possible theft of airplanes, boats, and luxury cars, authorities say.
Recently, small towns in the Midwest began noticing bizarre break-ins at airports and other locations that authorities say are connected to Harris-Moore.
Police in the Bahamas launched a fruitless search for him Monday night near wetlands at the island’s southern tip, where the plane landed.
Caroline Smith, a clerk at a marina, said the search on the typically sleepy island of 16,000 has inhabitants buzzing with rumors.
“I’ve heard he stole a car. Someone else says he stole a boat. Everybody’s talking a whole lot,’’ Smith said. “But I can tell you, there were three break-ins on Monday night, which is really unusual for us.’’
Court documents say a family in Yankton, S.D., found a nude man in their home who police believe was Harris-Moore. He pointed a laser beam at them and vanished.
From there, he is suspected of stealing cars to travel to Illinois. He was later reported to be in an Indiana town where a Cessna 400 was stolen. The owner of the plane got a call from the Coast Guard that its emergency transmitter was sending out a signal off the coast of the Bahamas.
The US Embassy in Nassau said Harris-Moore may have recent injuries and urged anyone who sees him to contact the Bahamas police. It said the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.