The return of the Barefoot Bandit | Editorial
June 21, 2011 · Updated 2:43 PM
It’s fitting that the so-called Barefoot Bandit will return to Island County to face what may be his final judgment in court.
Colton Harris-Moore is probably the most famous Island County native, just ahead of serial killer and Oak Harbor native Robert Yates. Already, county residents are alternatively calling for leniency or harsh punishment for Harris-Moore. Some people are mad, others impressed, with young man’s cross-country escapades that have generated book and movie deals. But at the end of the day, what’s important is that justice is served without regard to fame or notoriety.
Colton Harris-Moore grew up on Camano Island and caused deputies no end of grief when he was a teenager who burglarized and stole from his neighbors. The first time he was on the run from the law, Sheriff Mark Brown turned to the media for help catching him and it worked. A resident recognized him from the news and called the cops. Harris-Moore was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced. But to the consternation of county officials, the state sent him to a halfway house in Renton and he promptly escaped.
Harris-Moore returned to Camano Island to begin a two-year crime spree in which he stole and crashed airplanes, misappropriated boats, burglarized homes and snatched guns. He was finally arrested in the Bahamas last year after stealing an airplane from Indiana and crashing it into the Caribbean. He pleaded guilty in federal court last week to seven charges. He’s now expected to head to Island County. Apparently a plea bargain is in the works that will encapsulate more than 30 charges that Harris-Moore is facing in four counties. When all’s said and done, one of the two Island County Superior Court judges may decide how long the world-famous bandit will spend in prison.
Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks has been criticized, unfairly so, for insisting that Harris-Moore be brought to the county to face charges. Some felt it was somehow a waste of money since he’s accused of bigger and badder crimes elsewhere. It turns out, however, that Island County has some of the most serious charges against him. A plea bargain ensures that the Barefoot Bandit will be handled efficiently by the courts. And who knows, maybe a media circus will be good for business.